ATTENTION

You leave the secured ski area when riding on the Powder Department Runs! The runs are NOT prepared, NOT secured from avalanches (and other alpine dangers) and are NOT checked. The Powder Department Runs are – since they are open ski area - not declared open or closed.

You act exclusively at your own responsibility and are outside of the area of liability of the lift operators, which offer only the open, prepared pistes and ski routes and assume no liability whatsoever.

Freeride Runs should only be entered with a certified mountain and ski guide.

A freeride skier enjoying the panoramic view on a freeride run in the Stubai Valley

RISK MANAGEMENT

FREERIDE SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING - WHITE RISK

Minimizing the avalanche risk starts not only on entering the open ski area, but at home!Careful reading of the current avalanche report gives first information: What is today basically possible?
The “Tyrolean Mountain Rescue Emergency APP” offered by the Tyrol section has been developed for emergencies in the alpine area.
With a click on the APP your location (GPS coordinates) is transmitted to the Tyrolean coordination centre in a case of emergency.
At the same time a telephone connection is established. The required emergency rescue teams are alerted and dispatched.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP IN THE APP STORE (iPhone) DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP VIA GOOGLE PLAY (Android)

 

Freerider zieht in einem breiten Gelände die erste Line am Stubaier Gletscher

AVALANCHE TRAINING AREA

The use of searching devices must be continuously exercised, to be able to use it in an emergency situation.
The ORTOVOX STATION (advanced rescue training) system is a compact and technically mature facility for practising the search of buried victims with avalanche rescue beacon and avalanche probe. It can be used daily free of charge with your own Equipment. Avalanche Transceiver TRAINING How to use avalanche transceivers, shovel and proble can be exercised in cooperation with ORTOVOX at the Gamsgarten mountain station. On request also with mountain and ski guides as listed.

Zwei Freerider stehen vor der Powder Department Tafel und planen ihre Runs

FREERIDE CHECKPOINT

Safety and assessing the risk is of major importance for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. First place of contact for getting information ist he Freeride-Checkpoint at the Eisgrat top station. On the large display board you find route descriptions, weather, snow and avalanche reports, information on slope exposition, avalanche transceiver check etc.
On each trip into the powder snow you have to carry safety equipment (avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel and mobile). You can rent the equipment (helmet and rucksack also) at the Sportshop Eisgrat directly in the mountain station. All who do not know about the dangers in alpine terrain, we recommend entering the unsecured ski area with a certified freeride guide only.

CONTACT MOUNTAIN AND SKI GUIDES

ATTENTION

The fascinating beauty of the high mountains also incorporates dangers: crevasses, avalanches, snow storms, sudden incidences of fog and also intense sunlight. Outside of the marked and open slopes you alone are responsible for your own safety! You are venturing into high-alpine, glacial and avalanche-prone terrain. Appropriate equipment and knowledge of the dangers involved is essential! Inform on the current avalanche situation before heading for the back-country.

THE MOST IMPORTANT RULES FOR FREERIDE SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING

  • Fresh snow or rain always increases the risk of avalanches.
  • The first nice day after snowfall is particularly prone to accidents!
  • It is often easy to trigger fresh snowdrift accumulations.
  • Rapid, marked warming and/or strong sunlight increase the risk of avalanches.
  • Low visibility (fog) makes orientation and the assessment of avalanche risk more difficult.

BEFORE STARTING A FREERIDE EXCURSION, THE FOLLOWING MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION:

  • Information on the avalanche risk (see avalanche bulletin on www.lawine.at/tirol)
  • Check risk factors and if possible eliminate them
  • Check emergency equipment (avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, mobile phone...)
  • Have a basic knowledge of alpine dangers and what to do in an emergency

If you are not sufficiently informed on alpine dangers and avalanches, please book a training session with a pro (e.g. guided mountain or ski guide) before entering into the open area on your own. 

Ein Snowboarder sprayt den Tiefschnee bei einer Kurve in die Luft

FACTORS FOR AVALANCHE FORMATION

++ CONDITIONS The danger increases with the intensity of the snowfall and strong winds. This combination causes tricky drifting snow accumulations to form, which can be recognised by blown-off ridges, cornices and wind scour. Rapid and marked warming also leads to an increase in avalanche danger, which can often be the case during the course of the day, especially in spring. Clear alarm signs that indicate an increased danger are fresh avalanches, dull "boom" sounds and cracks in the snowpack.

++ TERRAIN Avalanches are possible from a slope angle of approx. 30°. Basic rule: The steeper a slope, the more dangerous. Typical avalanche slopes are on the shaded side (i.e. exposed on the north side), close to the ridge and filled with drifting snow. 

++ PEOPLE The majority of floe avalanches (= classic winter sports avalanche) are triggered by the skiers themselves. So it is primarily up to one's own behaviour whether the risk of triggering an avalanche is increased or reduced!

Zwei Freerider stehen mit ihren Ski in der Hand auf einer Anhöhe und genießen die Aussicht

AVALANCHE KNOW-HOW

LAWINEN KNOW HOW The likelihood of an avalanche being triggered depends on the slope gradient and risk level.The lower the risk level, the steeper the slopes you ski on can be and the other way round: the higher the risk level, the less inclined the slopes selected should be.
Risk assessment requires experience and training! The right know-how is taught in SAAC Camps or by certified mountain and ski guides. Every winter morning at 7:30 a.m. the Tyrolean Avalanche Warning Service gives an assessment of the current avalanche danger based on the five-point scale used in all of Europe. For the Stubai Glacier you should pay close attention to the southern Ötztal and the Stubai Alps region. It is important to no just superficially check the warning level, but also to read the detailed information attentively. 

CURRENT AVALANCHE REPORT
Current information from the Eissee station, select the southern Ötztal and Stubai Alps: Tyrolean Avalanche Warning Service

AVALANCHE RISK

ASSES AVALANCHE RISK BY CONSIDERING THE PRESENT DANGER WARNING AND THE SLOPE GRADIENT

Slope gradients above 30° are coloured in the map or can be measured on the terrain. The steepest section must be considered (20x20m). If you take both factors you can assess the risk with this chart:

EUROPEAN AVALANCHE DANGER SCALE

Explanations to the European Avalanche Danger Scale

DEGREE OF HAZARD 1 - LOW
DEGREE OF HAZARD 1 - LOW
Snowpack Stability: The snowpack is generally well bonded and stable. Avalanche Probability: Triggering is possible only with high additional loads** on a few very steep extreme slopes. Only a few small natural avalanches (sluffs) possible. Effects on Traffic Routes / Recommendations: No danger Effects for Persons in the Free Ski Area / Recommendations: Generally safe conditions.
DEGREE OF HAZART 2 - MODERATE
DEGREE OF HAZART 2 - MODERATE
Snowpack Stability: The snowpack is moderately well bonded on some steep slopes, otherwise generally well bonded. Avalanche Probability: Triggering is possible with high additional loads**, particularly on the steep slopes indicated in the bulletin. Large natural avalanches not likely. Effects on Traffic Routes / Recommendations: Low risk of spontaneous avalanches. Effects on Persons in the Free Ski Area / Recommendation: Mostly favourable conditions. Careful when selecting the routes, especially in steep areas of the given gradient.
DEGREE OF HAZARD 3 - CONSIDERABLE
DEGREE OF HAZARD 3 - CONSIDERABLE
Snowpack Stability: The snowpack is moderately to weakly bonded on many steep slopes*. Avalanche Probability: Triggering is possible, sometimes even with low additional loads**. The bulletin may indicate many slopes which are particularly affected. In certain conditions, medium and occasionally large sized natural avalanches may occur. Effects on Traffic Routes / Recommendations: Some danger for exposed sections. Safety precautions are recommended in some sections. Effects for Persons in the Free Ski Area / Recommendations: Partly adverse conditions. Experience in assessing the avalanche risk required. Avoid steep slopes of the given gradient if possible.
DEGREE OF HAZARD 4 - HIGH
DEGREE OF HAZARD 4 - HIGH
Snowpack Stability: The snowpack is weakly bonded in most places. Avalanche Probability: Triggering is probable even with low additional loads on many steep slopes. In some conditions, frequent medium or large sized natural avalanches are likely. Effects for Traffic Routes / Recommendations: Danger for exposed sections. Safety precautions have to be taken there. Effects for Persons in the Free Ski Area / Recommendations: Adverse conditions. Plenty of experience for assessing avalanche risk required. Limit your stay to moderately steep terrain / consider the tongues of avalanches.
DEGREE OF HAZARD 5 - EXTREME
DEGREE OF HAZARD 5 - EXTREME
Snowpack Stability: The snowpack is generally weakly bonded and largely unstable. Avalanche Probability: Numerous large natural avalanches are likely, even on moderately steep terrain. Effects on Traffic Routes / Recommendations: Acute danger. Extensive safety precautions. Effects for Persons in the Free Ski Areas / Recommendations: Adverse conditions. It is recommended to abstain from entering the free ski areas.

* Described in more detail in the avalanche report (e.g. altitude, exposure, terrain)
** Additional load:
- high: e.g. two or more skiers/snowboarder etc. without relief distnace; piste machines; avalanche blasts
- low: e.g. individual snow athlete, snowshoe hiker

++ spontaneous: without the added risk of humans
++ exposure: direction, the slope is facing
++ exposed: especially dangerous
++ moderatly steep terrain: with a gradient of less than 30°
++ steep terrain: steeper than 30°
++ extremely steep terrain: especially dangerous because of their inclination (more than 40°), terrain shape, closeness to a ridge and surface

DOWNLOAD THE EUROPEAN AVALANCHE DANGER SCALE IN PDF