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Athletes learn about the hidden dangers of the mountain

26 Jan 2012
Innsbruck 2012, YOG

Although off-piste slopes can offer unexplored adventures for skilled skiers and snowboarders alike, they also come with hidden dangers that need to be understood before hitting unchartered territory.

As part of the Culture and Education Programme, the athletes at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games were given the opportunity to learn firsthand the steps to take in the event of an avalanche up in the beautiful backcountry of Nordkette.

Young Reporter Emily Ridlington spoke with mountain guide Stefan Kosz, who was leading the workshop about the need to observe and respect the unseen perils of the mountain.

“Young people are sometimes not aware of the dangers off-piste, but they still want to enjoy the powder and go off-track so it’s important to give them the information”, he said.

“We want the athletes to go out into nature and enjoy nature but to use their brain and be careful.”

Stefan explained that, if the backcountry does beckon, it’s important to always have your rescue gear with you: a transmitter, a shovel and a probe.

Taking part in the course were the Finnish ski and snowboard team, and Emily spoke with one of the young athletes, Tuomas Pohjonen, about his experience.

“I’m glad I took it because we don’t know so much about the backcountry in Finland, where there are not so many big mountains and powder.”

Check out Emily’s report for YOG TV here.

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