It’s not just about what you have, it’s also about how you use it. So, this article is dedicated to how to use your guidebook, what the functions are, and how to apply them to your tour. After all, understanding how to use your Off-Piste Ski Atlas is what makes it such a valuable resource.
Before we get into the guidebook, we want to address some other key components to smart decision making. We encourage everyone to get formal training. A great way to do this is to take an AIARE Level 1, minimum, course to learn about terrain management, decision making and snowpack analysis. You should also be looking at your local avalanche forecast throughout the season. You can find your local avalanche center here. Read the full report for your area before you go out on your tour to stay up to date and know what’s happening in the snowpack. In addition, you should be going out with a trustworthy partner, a beacon, shovel and probe, and a tour plan.
Speaking of tour planning, this guidebook is designed to help you establish an objective and educate you on the potential hazards of the zone. Your atlas is an important resource for finding a zone that is appropriate for the avalanche danger and ability of the group. Once you have located a zone, or a few zones appropriate for the group ability, refer to the book’s avalanche tools to see if it is appropriate for the current avalanche danger. The avalanche tools are: the compass rose, elevation beta, ATES rating, and avalanche notes.