The session provided essential information on heading to the backcountry from industry experts who focused the information specifically on the Australian conditions. Guest speakers were Bill Barker of Billtrips.com and Hotham Alpine resort as well as Doug Chatten, a patroller from Perisher Resort.
Bill and Doug went through some of the dangers that need to be considered before adventuring out into Australia’s backcountry some of which most people are aware of like blizzards, navigating technologies and standard equipment. But some topics they covered such as avalanches and terrain traps are concerns a lot of people underestimate the importance of being prepared for. Avalanches account for 5% of hospitalisations in Australian backcountry incidences. 5% may not seem like a significant number but with more and more people heading out to Australia’s back country it is a number that shouldn’t increase and that with more awareness and safety precautions can hopefully decrease.
The largest percentage of hospitalisations are from hypothermia. Bill went through some of the symptoms of hypothermia which were surprising, for example a major sign of hypothermia makes people look like they have been drinking alcohol. These are real risks of backcountry touring that need to be considered, both, what to do beforehand to try and prevent a dangerous situation and what to do during if the situation occurs. Other topics covered included some tips on how/what to pack and knowing your limitations and expectations.
Backcountry is becoming more and more popular which is great, and it is even better that people like Bill and Doug are willing to donate their time to educating people about the dangers. At Rhythm Snow Sports we have a dedicated department for Back Country equipment, and new this year is The Cabin for everything Splitboarding. Our staff are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, even if you are not quite sure about heading backcountry yet but are curious about how it all works.
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