Knowledge about avalanches is a prerequisite for skiing the mountains of Sunnmøre. When I started skiing, these mountains were typically skied only in spring when the snow had stabilised, but nowadays Alpine ski touring is done all winter. When asked by a group of friends if I would like to join an avalanche safety course at Romsdal Lodge in Isfjord, I happily joined in. These skills need to be learned, practiced and honed.
Lunch on the mountain on Saturday.
The weather on our chosen week end January 8th to 10th 2016 was way too nice for any real risk of avalanches, as a stable cold front had made the snow rock hard, but the course had a nice mix of theory and outdoor practice, and I really feel we learnt a lot. Starting on Friday night with theory on avalanche avoidance and recognition of avalanche terrain, a wonderful three course dinner followed, before the course progressed into practice sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday we practiced rescues using a transceiver, and techniques for carrying out a companion rescue. Unfortunately the snow was too hard for us to practice avalanche probing, but at least we practiced assembling the rods and the technique for using them. We´ll have to get together and practice probing when we get a new snowfall.
On Saturday night we planned a trip for Sunday over another delicious three course dinner. Our target was Taskedalskollen, a name that produced continuous series of comments from the male members of the group. The weather had changed to milder temperatures yet windier conditions, so we calculated the windchill factor and planned for a really cold day.
The biting wind on top of Taskedalskollen made for a short and effective stay, so we put on our down jackets and helmets, peeled of our climbing skins and headed back downhill.
Halfway down the mountain we paused to scout for safe passages through the woods and the rocky terrain, while enjoying the beautiful vista of the stunning mountains.