Mountain Equipment and the Sport Scotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) have agreed to a new sponsorship deal that will see their association continue for at least another 3 years.
The Sport Scotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) has chosen to continue its association with Mountain Equipment, the Manchester based manufacturer of technical apparel and equipment for at least another 3 years.
The new deal will see Mountain Equipment continue in its role as the exclusive clothing sponsor of the service
Over the course of the next 3 years Mountain Equipment will increase its financial commitment to the service. The continued support will ensure that its team of 12 observers continue to have access to some of the best mountaineering clothing available.
From mid-December until early April, Avalanche observers are out every single day, in all weathers to observe and record snow and avalanche conditions in 5 of Scotland's most popular mountain areas.
Richard Talbot, ME's Product Manager said
“The avalanche information service is unique in the role it fulfils. Its forecasts are used by recreational hill-walkers and climbers every day throughout the winter and without doubt helps to save lives. At the same time, the Scottish Winter mountain scene remains close to the heart of Mountain Equipment's whole ethos and we will continue to get invaluable feedback by having our products used in some of the most demanding conditions to be found anywhere.”
Mark Diggins, SAIS Co-Ordinator commented:
“The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service have selected Mountain Equipment clothing for a number of reasons, firstly, the design of the products allow us to get on with our daily work in some of the most hostile winter conditions in the UK. Secondly, a product that protects us from the wind, the extremes of winter, from pouring rain to blizzards and icing, is testament to the design, development and understanding that Mountain Equipment have developed over a great many years in defining what is needed to cope and operate in the worst of British weather. We are delighted to be supported by Mountain Equipment.”
The tragic events of last week's avalanche in Glencoe, which claimed the lives of 3 experienced mountaineers was an unfortunate reminder of the potential dangers faced in winter mountaineering. It put into stark perspective the training and experiences of 12 retail staff that had attended Mountain Equipment's 2009 Winter Skills & Product seminar earlier that week.
The 3-day course, held at Plas Y Brenin's winter base of Alltshellach near Glencoe is now in its 3rd year and focuses on giving retail staff an understanding of the core skills needed to venture safely into the mountains in winter and in turn being better able to advise their customers on the correct choice of clothing and equipment.
Retail Staff from 6 stores from across the North of England and Scotland attended including The Climbers Shop, Cave & Crag, Ultimate Outdoors, Craigdon Mountain Sports, Cairngorm Mountain Sports and Cotswold Outdoor.
Each day was spent venturing amongst and over some of Glencoe's and Lochaber's highest mountains including Buachaille Etive Mor, Buachaille Etive Beag and Aonach Mor. Under expert tuition from the mountain guides and instructors at Plas Y Brenin, everyone learnt how to correctly use an ice axe and crampons, how to build snow shelters and had constant training in avalanche awareness and safe travel in the mountains.
For Ozzie Rachel Kearns who has only recently moved to the UK and who now works for Cotswold Outdoor in Keswick it was a real eye-opener.
“..........it was informative, expertly guided, loads of advice and information....All the way through we were given advice on walking in crampons, using ice axes and predicting snow/weather conditions. There was always an expert guide on hand to boost morale and add an air of confidence at all times....”
The course, which is heavily subsidised, by both Mountain Equipment and GORE-TEX also featured technical training on a variety of topics relating to product design and a guest appearance by Dave Macleod.
Richard Talbot, Mountain Equipment's Product Manager and himself a qualified winter mountain leader commented.
“Specialist Outdoor Shops are quite rightly a hub for advice both on winter clothing and equipment. Given that we are seeing winter conditions that many people have not witnessed for several years, it should be a great comfort to every single one of the stores who attended this event to know that their staff have experienced very real winter conditions at first hand and have the confidence and the skills to ensure that the many hundreds of customers who will pass through their doors this winter are correctly equipped and go away with sound advice.”/
Mountain Equipment, GORE-TEX and Plas Y Brenin will continue to offer similar courses focussing on product training and mountain safety to all of its key stockists throughout 2009.