Avalanche training in the middle of the city? Yes, that´s what you just read! Following up on our previous event, the successful Pop your airbag at Alpingaraget in Stockholm where we highlighted the focus of having the right equipment, learning how to use it and the importance of how to update you gear, we created a compressed avalanche training in the middle of the beautiful city of Stockholm. The training took place at the 20-something-seconds-long slope called Hammarbybacken , that also hosts the annual world cup event in dual slalom. We invited 12 women, fairly unexperienced in this area, to participate in this compromised-city event-avalanche training to increase their knowledge about avalanche safety. We did this as we want to inspire more women to educate themselves in this area to create a safer environment in situations on the mountain and of course also inspire to ski more!
We asked ourselves if it´s possible to create and accomplish an event such as this in this type of terrain. The answer we got to was, YES, why not? Let´s try it. On March 5th at we met up with the 12 participants and experienced mountain guide Andreas Bengtsson from Mountain Guide Travel in Hammarbybacken and started off the evening with a theory session inside. We got to learn the basics of avalanche terrain, what the mountain can tell us by just looking at it, how to avoid situations where you can end up getting caught by an avalanche and what type of gear to wear while going out on the mountain
Participant Linnéa Jonsson explains “I learned how to think in order not to end up in a situation where an avalanche can be triggered. What type of equipment to bring. That it is important that you go with people who you trust that also have good knowledge in the subject.”
Back to where we started, The MM Rapaport Hargin Foundation want to increase safety on the mountain and we wanted to host an avalanche course where you can get both a theoretical part and also practice with your equipment. We believe that this part should be done by all freeride skiers every year, a standard procedure before, during and after the season. So, was Hammarbybacken in Stockholm big enough? Did we for example need 50 centimetres of powder to bury our transceiver?
Participant and member of the MM Rapaport Hargin Foundation Helena Rapaport explains “The best thing about the education was that it was easily accessible and yet so good and educational! It was my first avalanche training and I learned lots of stuff. Very smooth that on an everyday evening at “home ground” get to learn the basic knowledge of how avalanches and low range work”. Linnea agrees “Very good that the event was held in Stockholm and not in, for example, the Alps / Åre, as it shows how simple and accessible it can actually be to educate yourself in the subject, that you do not have to go far to go for an avalanche education”
We continued the course outside and Andreas gave us the basic knowledge on how to use our essential avalanche equipment: the transceiver, probe and shovel.
We got divided in to smaller groups to train with our transceivers. One person hid the transceiver and the rest of the group had to search for it. Great opportunity to learn how to work as a group in these situations and of course great to learn how the transceiver work in outside conditions.
One of the participants got to try a Mammut avalanche airbag. It’s always good to test and practice with your equipment. At our annual event “Pop Your Airbag” at Alpingaraget in Stockholm we let the participants bring and test their avalanche backpacks and also update their transceivers.
Knowledge is the key to safe skiing, and we encourage everyone to educate themselves and learn more. Four hours in Hammarbybacken is a good start and we know that there is much more to learn. Avalanche courses are available everywhere with organizations such as Mountain Guide Travel, Åre Lavincenter and ISTA.
We asked the participants if they got inspired and wanted to learn more? Linnéa explains “Absolutely, considering that I wanted to learn more and have not had so much experience before, it felt like I got a thorough and good education. Then I think that one can never get complete in the subject, it feels important to refresh the memory and take part of several different educations etc”.
Thank you to all participants, Andreas Bengtsson, Skistar, photographer Anton Enerlöv and Mammuth for making this happen! Continue to inspire like Matilda, be educated, train with your equipment AND have fun!
/ The MM Rapaport Hargin Foundation