Avalanche awareness and decision making

Decision making in avalanche terrain: tools, strategies and the theoretical background in snow physics and snowpack analysis.

Trip Dates


400,- €


3 Days

Group Size:





simple: Hut / bunks

Avalanche awareness and decision making

Prevention is better than digging!

Avalanche assessment is part of an integrated risk-management for snow sports.

Ski mountaineers and back country skiers have a whole range of data, resources, methods and strategies at their disposal to answer the question: Can I ski this slope at a reasonable risk?

The advantage for beginners is that they can adhere to established procedures that are adapted to the different levels of ability. The advanced skier is provided with instruments enabling well-structured decision-making in off-piste terrain on a solid basis.

The disadvantage of this "strategic avalanche awareness": There is no excuse anymore to jump into a slope just because you feel like having a gnarly ride!

In this course you'll extensively train your decision-making abilities, because the most difficult step is the one from pure factual knowledge to a clear yes or no.

Have you already done some self-sufficently planned skitouring and a vague idea of

  • avalanche factors
  • Planning strategies like 3 × 3, SnowCard and Co.
  • Snowpack analysis
  • Avalanche danger patterns and
  • Route planning?

Then this avalanche awareness course will update you and, above all, will show you how to integrate your knowledge, insights, experience and intuition in a structured way into a risk management strategy in order to plan solidly and make sound decisions in the backcountry.

The course takes place at the Maighelshütte near Andermatt. The area offers a rich variety of skitouring routes in different conditions.

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Day 1: Meet and ascend to Maighels Hut. Rehearsal of avalanche search and rescue skills. Decision-making strategies and interpretation of the avalanche bulletin. This will be incorporated in the tour planning.

Day 2: Skitour to one of the surrounding peaks. Practical contents on the way: how to put in a safe ski track, terrain assessment, snowpack analysis, risk management in ascent and descent. In the evening further teaching contents and tour planning for the next day.

Day 3: Final skitour, planned by you. You make the decisions! (don't worry, the mountain guide will not stay at the hut...)


The course is aimed at ski mountaineers who want to make decisions self-sufficiently, regardless of their knowledge of avalanche assessment. However, experience in skitouring is required. Solid off-piste skiing technique, fitness for approx. 1000 metres of ascent and overall exercising time of approx. 6 hours (training on tour).

Getting There

Andermatt is in Central Switzerland close to major towns like Lucerne and Berne. We discuss the details of transportation with you.

Accommodation & Food

The Meighels Hut is a very well run typical Swiss mountain hut. Staff is exceptionally friendly and welcoming. We well sleep in dormitories of 6 - 12 bunks with common toilets and washing rooms and no showers available.
Half-board on the hut consists of a lean breakfast with bread, jam, butter and cereals, served along with coffee or tea. Dinner is 3 to 4 courses: soup as a starter, sometimes salad, main course with some meat, desert. Vegetarian or other dietary requirements are accounted for.

You can order non-alcoholic drinks, beer and wine. Likewise, snacks and lunch can be purchased. Potable water may not be available and you will have to buy bottled water.

Please don't hesitate to contact us in case of questions.


Touring skis and -skins. Avalanche safety gear. We will provide missing items.


  • Organization and guiding by a IFMGA licensed Mountain Guide
  • Rental gear: glacier travel and avalanche safety
  • All guide's expenses


  • 2 x Night/Half board on mountain huts approx. 65 CHF/Night. (alpine club members)
  • Lunch and drinks on the huts. (lunch for take away can be ordered the day before)
  • personal insurance covering mountain rescue


for this trip

Top - mountain kit included.

Quite frankly our cooperating partners want to sell the gear they are providing us with. It is therefore clearly in our interest if you test gear on our trips. So why should we charge you for this?

Lend out gear is generally free of charge on all our trips. If you have your own equipment, but want to save weight on a challenging ski traverse, we will bring lightweight crampons for you. You are keen to test a wide freeride ski or the latest ice tools? No problem! Of course, we do not have multiple sizes or models in stock, but we are trying to help you with gear as much as we can.

Personal communication rather than follower and likes.

Lets face it: social media is a mere marketing tool for many businesses. To us this way of connecting with the audience is somewhat superficial. That's not our style. We prefer the direct contact to our clients - even beyond 'business'.

What does that mean for you? If you are planning a trip to the mountains on your own, get in touch, we are happy to recommend on a summit, region or provide information on the conditions. You need advice on gear? Need a second opinion on the avalanche situation? We are fostering a long term exchange, often on a very personal level, with many of our clients. We are taking the time, because its fun to chat or talk shop with like-minded people!

Climate protection: less babble.

Environmental protection must not be misused for mere image cultivation. Businesses who earn their money with air travel should not pat themselves on the back because they use recycled paper and green electricity. This is not credible. We clearly acknowledge the undeniable environmental damage our activities cause, and we try to at least partly offset them by the following actions, without too many words:

We encourage you to travel by train. If possible we give you a lift from the train station. We help to reduce your luggage by providing you all the technical gear required for your trip. Given a sufficient number of participants, we cover up to 50% of your train ticket.

We compensate our own as well as the CO2 emissions of our clients travelling by car without any additional cost in a transparent and comprehensive way. Of course, you are also invited to contribute. Get in touch if there are any questions!