Increasing safety and awareness in the mountains in ski alpinism and related activities
Erasmus+ Sports Project, 2019-2020
Hungarian Ski Mountaineering Association
(HSMA, Magyar Síalpin és Túrasí Sportegyesület, www.sialpin.hu, 1053 Budapest, Kecskeméti u. 2., Hungary, info [atty] sialpin [dotty] hu )
Asociatia Clubul Sportiv Extreme Explorer
Alpine Division of Hrvatsko planinarsko društvo “Željezničar”
(Croatia, AO HPD ZELJEZNICAR ; http://www.hpdzeljeznicar.hr)
- Kick-off Meeting, 23-26. May, 2019, Budapest, Hungary
- Training Meeting on Improving safety in the mountains in non-winter month, 05. 10. – 12. 10. 2019, Basko Polje, Croatia
- Training Meeting on Improving safety in the mountains in winter, February 2020, Romania
- Follow-up Meeting, September 2020, Budapest, Hungary
Outdoor sport done in a mountainous environment are becoming more and more popular in the recent years all over Europe. These include a large pool of sports from general hiking, trail running, mountain biking to very specialized sports like climbing or ski alpinism. However -especially in non-Alpine and small countries- the necessary background knowledge in health and safety, especially associated with the mountainous environment is often missing. Thus the main focus of the current project is to raise health and safety awareness for outdoor sports done in a mountainous environment, close the gap between amateur, hobby athletes and mountain professionals, put an emphasis on accident prevention and continue the work on developing a network of European organizations focusing on these sports. The current project will focus on ski alpinism (backcountry skiing, where both uphill and downhill travel is made on skis without the use of any motorized equipment e.g. without the use of lifts, and which usually also includes a number of techniques from classical alpinism, e.g. glacier traverse, also called ski touring and ski mountaineering or skimo). However the concepts formulated within this project have a much wider audience, including any people visiting the mountains for outdoor activities (i.e. freeriders, hikers, snowshoers, trail runners, mountain bikers, climbers), as the general basic safety guidelines are very similar for all these disciplines (called ‘associated sports, associated activities, related activities’ within the project).
The main objectives of the current project are:
1. to share good practices and work out new methods on:
- how to increase awareness on mountain safety: on one side with a special emphasis on ski alpinism and ski associated hazards, e.g. avalanche awareness, winter mountain weather, winter mountain first aid and rescue skills, team psychology, safety for freeriders, etc. On the other side on general mountain hazards concerning general outdoor users, e.g. weather, first aid and rescue skills, orientation. Associated with these is the question if and how could this kind of safety awareness be extended to further interested parties, e.g. to people leaving the groomed slopes only occasionally, or to trekkers and hikers;
- how to make people more willing to visit necessary courses, training sessions, to practice and to promote lifelong learning both in ski alpinism and in associated sports (e.g. for freeriders);
- how to reach younger people with these issues. Reaching them is both a very important and a very difficult task, due to the different pedagogical concepts that have to be applied;
- how to increase the willingness to volunteer in associated activities, e.g. self-organized practice sessions, mentoring, etc.;
- how to improve and maintain cooperation with stakeholders, e.g. rescue bodies, course instructors, experienced people willing to act as mentors, etc.;
- how to teach health and safety issues in an efficient way, e.g by using gamification, the optimal course structure and length, pedagogical and psychological aspects.
2. to provide cross-border joint training opportunity for the Project Partners:
- for efficient and novel knowledge exchange between the Project Partners;
- for working out new methods in training;
- to train the participants in efficient accident prevention and management;
- and for this knowledge to be passed onto the outdoor community in the long term.
3. and to enhance networking between the Project Partners, associated bodies and other relevant associations to further build a network of associations across Europe with the main focus on ski alpinism and its associated sports (i.e. trail running) in order to establish a tradition of working together and sharing good practices in the future. The network will be an extension of the already existing network founded within the Erasmus+ Sports ‘Up and Down’ project coordinated by the HSMA.
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