SAFETY AT THE FREERIDE WORLD TOUR
At Freeride World Tour, safety is the top priority for our athletes and staff.
We understand the risks associated with competitive freeriding and the challenging environment in which the sport takes place. That's why we ensure that riders and our team are fully equipped with the latest safety gear, both on and off the slopes. Mandatory equipment includes a helmet, back protection, avalanche airbags, beacon, probe, shovel, and Recco searchable device to keep them safe from potential harm. In addition to wearing mandatory safety gear, every rider must attend mandatory safety workshops throughout the season and follow strict safety guidelines during competitions. We work with our partners Recco, Black Diamond, Vibram, and Scott to accomplish this mission. We are doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our team as they push the limits of freeriding. Remember, safety always comes first!
OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. ALWAYS.
EDUCATION IS THE KEY
It is crucial to have all the equipment but knowledge remains the most important!
If there is one basic rule to remember, it is this one: Get educated! The mountains are an unforgiving environment, and there is no point in having the latest equipment with all the best features if you don’t know how to use it.
In 2021 the Freeride World Tour teamed up with WEMountain to offer online safety education to all our riders. WEMountain is the first mountain and avalanche training platform that combines both E-Learning and T-Learning.
From 2021 onwards all FWT and Qualifiers riders will follow the training courses offered by WEMountain, in order for us to keep our riders safe and educated.
Safety is the number one priority for Freeride World Tour. Education is the first and most important aspect of mountain safety.
The 6 Must Know Golden Rules of Mountain Safety
Freeride World Tour athletes are the first to apply them, both in their regulation equipment used during their runs, and their regular mountain first aid refresher courses. Follow the fundamental mountain safety rules that the Freeride World Tour shares with its athletes and fans today.
1 - Follow a mountain safety training course with a guide
An avalanche transceiver requires training to successfully search for an avalanche victim. Once found, the victim must be dug up using a precise technique to prevent the snow from falling on them, and thus avoid the risk of suffocation.
The techniques of terrain identification, rescue, and use of equipment will never be as well explained as during a mountain safety training course.
2 - Check your equipment
No freerider should head out without the proper equipment. At a minimum, a rider should have a helmet, Avalanche Beacon, shovel, probe, and an airbag. You should be dressed in warm, wind and waterproof clothing equipped with recco reflectors to facilitate your localisation.
Check out the Black Diamond safety equipment here
Check out the Peak Performance technical clothing here
Once you have all the equipment ready, it is important to check that it is in good working order. Although it may seem obvious, most people forget to check the battery on their avalanche beacon and adjustment of their skis.
3 - Preparing your adventure
With the basic equipment ready, you will need to plan your outing. Plan using the following:
- The itinerary
- The weather forecast
- Snow conditions
- Avalanche bulletins
It is possible to find much of this information on the ski resort’s website or by using various weather forecasting websites.
4 - Choosing the right terrain
At the beginning of the excursion, don't hesitate to talk with the patrollers to find out the details of the destination and the state of the area in general. The patrollers often have information that you will not find anywhere else.
Once you have arrived at your chosen destination, it is essential to observe the mountain carefully and then assess the risks and feasibility:
- The degree of slope/ steepness of the face
- The exposure of the face
- The effects of sun and wind on the snow
- Obstacles: trees, cliffs, rocks, crevasses
- Safety signs placed by the patrollers
Take the time to make snow cuts to observe the composition of the snowpack. Thick homogeneous layers are better than several small unstable heterogeneous layers.
Moreover, a homogeneous mantle limits important temperature differences between the different layers. Ask yourself on which type of mantle you are going to be skiing: on a 3 m thick mantle or on a 1 m mantle? It is important to know which fragile layer you are going to reach first, and therefore how much pressure to put while skiing.
You have to be sure of your level before committing yourself. Don't overestimate yourself, choose lines according to your level of skiing or snowboarding.
5 - 8 mistakes not to make!
There are simple rules that many freeriders live by, breaking these rules could cost you your life.
- Don't leave without informing someone of your plan (friend, relative, patroller).
- Don't go alone
- Don't go freeriding with an under-equipped person
- Don't follow tracks already made
- Don't stop in dangerous places on the face
- Don't go in large groups, separate and keep your distance.
- Don't follow someone without first observing, use your common sense and check for yourself.
- Don't just sit back, talk amongst yourselves about the potential risks and dangers
6 - Respect the mountain
Don't forget that we are very small in comparison to the majesty of the mountain, so ride it, but above all, respect it, and it will respect you!
Going freeriding this winter? Here's a quick list to cover the basics of how to freeride safely.
Do you have any questions about Safety at the Freeride World Tour? Use to form below to reach out and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!