John Biggar.com : Climbing Instructor and Guidebook Author

Mountain Safety Skills for Ski-Mountaineers and Splitboarders 2024

 Winter mountain safety skills courses for Ski-Mountaineers and Splitboarders.

Email me for information about likely dates or to make a private booking.

We also run Winter Skills courses for hillwalkers.

 These courses are an introduction to wild skiing in the Scottish mountains for regular skiers or snowboarders The courses will teach the mountain skills necessary to move safely on skis or splitboard over Scotland's munros. We will not focus on skiing or boarding skills.

 The courses are suitable for any experienced skiers or snowboarders who want to try moving beyond the pistes. While experience of winter hill-walking in Scotland is an advantage it is not necessary to have this beforehand. However minimum downhill skiing (or boarding) ability is essential. You should be able to descend some black runs, and come down red runs in all snow conditions, from moguls to fresh to icy conditions, moving both confidently and efficiently.

Areas we'll aim to cover whilst travellng over the tops of some munros include the following:- route planning, avalanche assessment, navigation on skis, use of ice-axe and crampons, basic ropework and belays.  Each course will be kept very flexible to adapt to the needs of the clients who book. We will also have to adapt to the Scottish weather and snow conditions, which can be very unpredictable.

These courses are designed for those with their own ski-mountaineering skis or splitboards, But I can easily help you to hire equipment in the Aviemore area if you need it.

Please note that while these courses usually run in the Aviemore area, I can also run courses at other venues to suit. Other good options include the Glenshee and Ben Lawers areas in Perthshire and the Fort William area in Lochaber.

DATES & PRICES   ARE LISTED BELOW, OR CLICK ON THE LINK.

Splitboarding course on A'Mharconaich and Geal Charn, March 2022.

Heading up onto our first munro on our March 2022 splitboarding course. In perfect weather (but very icy conditions) we did a day tour over A'Mharconaich and Geal Charn when everyone got to use their ice-axes, crampons and splitboard crampons for the first time.  

Splitboarding on Meall nan Tarmachan, near Ben Lawers, March 2020.  

A perfect splitboarding day on Meall nan Tarmachan, near Ben Lawers, March 2020.

Skiing the NE rdige of Ben Nevis, May 2015.

Skiing the NE ridge of Ben Nevis, May 2015.

We normally use the wee town of Aviemore in the Scottish highlands as a base for these courses. There are various accommodation options in this area, including hostels, B&B and *** and **** hotels. I can help with arranging accommodation once you have booked a place on one of these courses. Travel to this area is easiest done by car from most of Scotland or northern England. From further afield it is possible to arrive by train or fly into Inverness airport and rent a car (or we may be able to pick you up there). If you want advice on travel and accommodation options before booking please ask!

Ski-Mountaineering equipment can be rented in Aviemore if you don't have your own.


 2024 COURSES & COSTS 

This winter I am not scheduling any courses due to other commitments. However I am available several weekends, and many days midweek from January thru to mid-March for bespoke courses if you have a group of friends interested. My prices are based on a two person course, but I can do a 1:1 course for a higher fee. I can also offer discounts on the prices below if you have a group of three or more persons. These prices are for guiding/instruction only. They don't include your accommodation and travel to the area, or ski hire, but we can help you arrange these.

 1-day course fee --  105 per person.

 2-day course fee  --  175 per person.

Estimated Accommodation & Meals (1 or 2 nights) -- 100 to 150 per person

To book a course please print a Booking Form (PDF) (or use the .DOC version) and read the full Booking Conditions.  I'll require a completed booking form returned by post or email and a 50% deposit payment per person. Full payment is due two months before the course.

Skiing on Carn Gorm, Glen Lyon 

Skiing in the hills above Glen Lyon, March 2014.

 

Skinning up towards the summit of Ben More, May 2015. The peak in the Background is Stob binnien, with the very nice NE face descent on the left.

Skinning up towards the summit of Ben More, May 2015. The peak in the background is Stob Binnien, with the very nice NE face descent on the left.



SAFETY AND RISK

Ski-mountaineering is an adventurous activity and all clients will be exposed to an element of risk by taking part in this course. While we take all reasonable precautions to reduce risk it is neither possible nor desirable to completely eliminate these additional risks. Some of these hazards carry the risk of serious injury or death. It is important that you understand the risks involved before signing our booking form. We have identified the following areas as the principal additional risks of this itinerary. This is not a fully inclusive list - please ask if you would like to see our more detailed risk assessment for this course before booking.
Remoteness : You will be several hours away from professional medical help for much of the time. In bad weather rescue and hospitalization could take many hours.
Weather : Bad weather, including gale and storm force winds, freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions are extremely common in the Scottish mountains. Whilst forecasts are generally quite good these days and we will plan our course to avoid the most extreme weather, we cannot foresee all eventualities.
Navigation : There is a small risk, in extreme weather, of becoming lost in the mountains.
Mountain & Skiing Hazards : In certain places you may be subjected to a risk of rockfall. There are risks of injury from skiing falls and from slipping and sliding on snow.
Avalanche : In the Scottish mountains in winter avalanches are common. Whilst we take all reasonable measures to avoid exposure to avalanche risk, we cannot foresee every eventuality, nor control what other mountain users do.

A more detailed and extensive full Risk Assessment is available for our winter courses. You should read this before booking!


 

 

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