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Learn essential avalanche skills with a Cicerone guidebook mini-guide - Introduction

Cover of Avalanche!
16 Nov 2015
15.5 x 10.0 x 0.8cm
1st Published
25 Jan 2007
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Understand and reduce risks from Avalanches

by Robert Bolognesi
Book published by Cicerone Press

A practical pocket guidebook to help you learn the skill of snow avalanche prediction. Aimed at all winter snow sports enthusiasts, you can learn the skill of avalanche prediction, understand and predict avalanches, evaluate the risks and reduce the dangers. The book includes a Nivotest designed to help quantify risks from avalanches.

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Cover: Paperback - Laminated
Size: 15.5 x 10.0 x 0.8cm
Weight: 130g

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The skill of avalanche prediction is both an art and a science. This practical mini-guidebook, aimed at mountaineers, skiers, climbers, snowboarders, snowshoers, walkers and all who love winter and snow sports, can help you learn that skill.

Drawing on the expertise of a wide range of professionals involved in mountain activities, as well as first-hand accounts of avalanche scenes from witnesses and survivors, to help you understand and predict snow avalanches, evaluate the risks and reduce the dangers.

Designed for use on the mountain and during planning. Avalanche includes a NivoTest which assists in estimating avalanche risk on a mountain route as well as in identifying steep slopes with a series of 25 questions. If the answer to the question is yes, you add up the points – the higher the total score, the higher the risk.

If you want to learn more about the formation and evolution of snow, our mini-guide Snow will help you with practical methods of examining and analysing snow cover.

  • Seasons
  • Difficulty
    Aimed at those involved in snow and winter sports, from enthusiasts to professionals.
We do not yet have any updates available for this book

We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).



Personal Accounts   

Risk Assessment
Definition of risk    
Criteria for risk assessment    
Assessing risk    

Reducing the Risk
Reducing the possibility of avalanche release    
Reducing potential damage    

Using NivoTest    
Useful addresses   


People say avalanches are unpredictable. Is that true? And even if it is, is that an excuse for throwing your life away?

It is certainly true that no-one is in a position to claim that they can predict every avalanche, and it has to be said that some are particularly baffling, even for the most experienced. Nevertheless, an avalanche is not a supernatural event, and one does not need to be able to describe the release mechanisms in all their complexity in order to identify the majority of hazardous situations. It is enough to be able to ‘read’ the mountain to reduce considerably the threat posed by the ‘white death’.

This little guide will assist those who wish to undertake this apprenticeship. In the first instance it will give readers a wider understanding of the phenomenon, using not only objective data but also the accounts of witnesses and survivors. It will go on to reveal some of the indications which, for those who know how to interpret them, will enable a local assessment of avalanche hazard to be made and a number of pitfalls to be avoided. Finally, it will put forward some rules of thumb, be it for free-riders*, ski tourers, walkers or climbers, that will permit safer travel on the mountains.

* Experts in snowsport on all terrain, all snow types
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