Item: Dealing with avalanche problems. in. helicopter skiing
Title: Dealing with avalanche problems. in. helicopter skiing
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1976 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta
Authors: H. Gmoser
Abstract: After having guided and conducted high mountain alpine ski tours for 12 consecutive seasons, I recognized one overriding difference when I seriously got involved in helicopter skiing in 1965: The exposure to avalanches is considerably greater in helicopter-skiing than in ski touring. Table I summarizes the key reasons for this difference. In planning our ski-tours, it was important to consider the avalanche hazard, but it was nonetheless always possible to choose a tour on any given day where this hazard was minimal. In fact, on most days, in most areas, you could always guide two trips and seldom feel that the risk was critical. The groups were small, you had altogether 12-15 skiers; their expectations were very reasonable and, hence, they were easy to control if conditions did get marginal. Further, on the climb or approach, you had sufficient time for observation. The climbs up the mountain took anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. With each push of the ski forward into the unbroken snow, with each plant of the pole, you got a message, and you had time to digest it. You could look around in all directions, you could listen, you could feel the temperature and the wind. Although all these impressions were measured by feel, rather than by instruments, they did give you tangible information because you carried these observations out every day, season after season.
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Keywords: helicopter skiing, hazard, mountain guides
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