Britain’s first avalanche park opens

10th January 2011, by Chris Gill

Glencoe, Scotland [W King]

Glencoe, Scotland [W King]

Britain’s first avalanche training park has opened in the Scottish Highlands.

Glencoe Ski Centre was chosen as the base for the park, which provides free transceiver training to anyone heading out on the Scottish mountains in winter. An area of the slopes at Glencoe has been made available for the project and experts will be on hand to guide users through the safety procedures.

The ski patrol has scattered nine devices around the area for practice. These act as buried victims, emitting a signal to other carriers. Group members pick up the signal and can then mount a rescue attempt in minutes, increasing a victim’s chance of survival.

More people are carrying these high-tech pieces of kit, in addition to shovels and probes; and it essential to know how to use them properly. The Scottish Avalanche Information Service and Glencoe ski Patrol, who set up the park, think it will prove a worthwhile contribution to mountain safety in the area.

Last winter’s bumper snowfall and a general increase in avalanche activity has also prompted the decision – a project not only aimed at skiers and boarders, but also at ski tourers and winter hikers. The park is open daily from 10am to 3pm, and is free to enter.

Glencoe is regularly regarded as the more rugged of the five Scottish ski areas. Its trophy run, Fly Paper, is classified black and descends an avalanche-prone part of the mountain. While it has the only avalanche training centre on the slopes, visitors can also receive advice and training at Cairngorm’s Glenmore Mountain Lodge – a popular base for summer and winter mountain courses.


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