Skitour School: weekend skitur and lavin training LVL 1 – relation
Coffee from a chocolate-flavored vending machine, picking up equipment – boots, poles, skis, seals and avalanche ABCs. Luck favors, because the sun is already shining in the morning. Gathering at 8:30 am at the Mountain Explorers rental, the base of the advanced training of the Mountain Skitour School. Most of us show up a while early. There is a chance to meet the participants of the course, enthusiastic amateurs, and the leaders – mountain specialists.
A few days before the training, everyone gets a bulleted list of the most important information – what to have in your backpack and a few words about how to dress. It is impossible to get to Kuznice, from where we start, by car. We will leave them at the paid parking lot, which stretches from Rondo im. We take the John Paul II trail towards Wielka Krokiew (cost 20-30 PLN per day). You can continue by cab, minibus or city bus. For those staying overnight near Nosal or at the southern exit from Krupowki, a walk is also included. Surprisingly, there are not many buses in the morning, and the cab drivers value themselves extremely highly.
Mountain Explorers rental, skydiving training base
Skitur and avalanche course LVL 1 organized by Skitour School is two days of ascents and descents, combined with several hours of practice in handling the avalanche ABC, i.e. shovel, probe and avalanche detector. The choice of route each time depends on the weather conditions, continuously checked by the instructors – instructors, Tatra guides, former skydivers and/or at the same time long-time TOPR rescuers. The physical condition of the group is also taken into account (the group consists of six people and the leader). In order to participate in the trip, each participant should have skiing skills that allow a trouble-free descent from Kasprowy Wierch (black route). This is, after all, the frequent goal of a skitouring trip.
We set the plan for the trip and learn to read the TPN information boards even more carefully
What detailed elements we will learn during the two days of the course?
- Preparation of the equipment necessary for the trip
- Putting on, taking off and storing seals
- Technique of approach and descent
- Learning how to traverse and "bends", that is, how to negotiate steep sections of the slope
- Reading avalanche notices and information boards
- Correct operation of avalanche ABC (simulation of avalanche actions)
The place for traversing and avalanche training is usually Kalatówki glade, located in the Bystra Valley. This was the case this time as well. On the first day of the training, while resting at the PTTK Mountain Hotel, we learned how to correctly read and analyze TOPR messages (you can find them here: https://lawiny.topr.en).
Learning the bends, Kalatówki glade; photo. Jakub Brzosko/Skitour School
Avalanche detector; for training – disabled
Here, an avalanche detector in action
Resting at the PTTK Mountain Hotel in Kalatówki. We are waiting for everyone to gather
Most of the second day was devoted to learning how to approach, ride and observe conditions in the higher parts of the mountains (deposits of windblown snow, descriptions of walls and ridges in relation to the safety of skiing or alpine tourism). That day we reached the "patelnia," the characteristic flattening below Kasprowy Wierch. The last item on the agenda was the descent down the ski slope to Kuznice, accompanied by music still vivid in our ears, played moments earlier on a guitar borrowed from the hostel on Kondratowa Glade.
Hostel on Kondratowa Glade
Two days is just a short introduction to the adventure of hiking on seals, in extremely comfortable skitouring boots and descending in wild mountain terrain. The knowledge gained is only a small part of what you can and need to know to hike safely in the mountains in winter. At the same time, these are the basics, without which you can't move.
There is also no denying that not only the factual content, but also the anecdotes and stories of the instructors, their genuine enthusiasm and apparent love for the mountains, infected us with passion. Maybe that's why, after a successful descent, each of us thought: how about one more time?