Mountain Medicine on Skis, Chamonix 2019

What WMT says

Now in its 5th year in 2019 and including 5 days of ski training Mountain Medicine on Skis in Chamonix course combines medical training and professional ski tuition and mountain medicine training into one brilliant package. Aimed at medics (10 maximum) who are “good” skiers, this demanding course combines ski performance development with at least 12 hours in-depth tuition in selected mountain and wilderness medicine topics, both theoretical and practical. This course aims to develop your personal competence so that, initially, you might have the skills to join a ski touring party off piste, look after yourself on skis, and be able to provide better emergency medical care in the mountains. To join WMT’s most demanding course, no climbing or mountaineering experience is required BUT you must ski to the minimum standard outlined below and be ski fit (see the Health Warning below). Please carefully read all the notes below and conditions of participation before you book. Up to 20 CPD hours/points

What students say

Thank you for such an excellent course.
The best course I have ever been on.
Feel my skiing has really improved.
I really enjoyed the course. It pushed me out of my comfort zone.
I feel more confident and learnt a lot.
Information packed!
I loved this course. It was intense but I was expecting it.
Medical teaching was excellent.
All useful and relevant. Really interesting sessions.
Amazing intro to ski touring. Lectures extremely well delivered and evidence based.
All 3 instructors had good individual styles – good to have a mix.


2019 Pre-trip dossier – coming soon
WMT Mountain Medicine on Skis pre trip dossier 2018 for background information
WMT Mountain Medicine on Skis Administration Form (and please bring a completed paper copy with you – don’t send by email)

Who should attend?

This is much more than a “ski junket” and will appeal to medics wanting to push their skiing standard, get a taste of ski touring and prepare for a mountain oriented expedition medic role. We welcome doctors and OHPs of all grades and ages who meet the skiing standard (see How well do delegates need to ski? below), and accept the obligatory accommodation arrangements and the dynamic, fluid nature of this course. The course is limited to 10 participants. (We are unable to accept telemarkers or snowboarders, even on split boards. Sorry!)

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Booking and availability – 2019 dates

Firstly, please don’t book unless you have study leave/holiday approved.

2019 Timings & dates – arrival & departure

WMT books shared apartment or non catered chalet accommodation for 7 nights on student’s behalf, Saturday to Saturday, with the first course skiing day on Sunday. The course concludes on Day 5 (Thursday) after skiing, enabling students to catch late flights home if necessary though time can be tight (9pm earliest to allow transfer time). In terms of flight times to book, the accommodation is normally available from 5pm and departure is by 10am on the last day.

Ski & mountain outline programme

Day 1 – Morning meeting and ski warm up, mountain safety training/avalanche awareness & transceiver use, 6-7pm formal lecture kick off – evening welcome chat, intros and avalanche/medical lecture.

Day 2 – Polishing piste skiing skills; learning to flow, edge, ski with less effort, more grace, efficiency, speed and control, medical training (see the Medical Programme)

Day 3 – Transitioning to off piste skiing; techniques and tricks, choosing a safe line back-country, route planning, navigation, medical training

Day 4 – More skiing AM and medical training then collecting rental touring skis and practising putting skins on, learning to “kick turn”, practising skiing on the piste and skiing on touring skis/boots.

Day 5 – Final day – putting it all together – ski touring, off piste and or glacier skiing depending on conditions and group ability, more student responsibility for trip planning and execution, teaching and coaching en route, medical training

Medical programme

Day 1 – Evening tutorial; scene safety, triage and management of the injured casualty in the remote winter environment. We’ll delve into the physiology of trauma and the effect of the cold on the human body and techniques for mitigation will be discussed. Best practice pre-hospital and in hospital will be discussed.

Day 2 – Mountain session; we will put the learning of the previous evening into practice with a medical scenario in the ‘field’

Evening; frost nip, frostbite and non-freezing cold injury seminar covering the latest research that has informed the most up to date medical practices and reduced the need for early surgery. Case studies will illuminate and reinforce the theory.

Day 3 – Mountain session; triage practical in the avalanche setting

Evening; altitude seminar delving into the pathophysiology of Acute Mountain Sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Oedema and High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema. Review of treatments and discussion of ascent profiles and risk mitigation. Practical use and demonstration of the portable hyperbaric chamber.

Day 4 – Mountain session; femoral and pelvic fracture management, moving, lifting and carrying a seriously injured casualty improvising with the kit one would carry in the mountains

Evening; hypothermia seminar in which we interrogate the ICAR guidelines and discuss the role of techniques such as ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation)

Day 5 – Mountain session; we will combine mountain and medical skills to practically demonstrate how to care for a casualty for a more prolonged period in a hostile environment. Discuss snow shelters.

The course handbook covers many other topics and we are happy to add informal tutorials over coffee on the slopes as interest and time permits. With a smaller, more intimate course group, the instructors are available throughout to discuss anything of interest on the chairlift, slopes, “classroom” or after hours in the pub.

Teaching Teams 2019

Ski instructor and international mountain guide Luc Bellon and WMT’s ski addict Barry Roberts will deliver both courses. Medical Director Dr Harvey Pynn (ED consultant, dip. mountain medicine) will be teach on the first course. Provisionally, Dr Charlotte Verney (anaesthetist, dip. mountain medicine) will deliver the medical teaching on the 2nd course.

The skiing standard that is required

As a minimum, delegates need to be “good” intermediate level skiers. This means that;
• On groomed red runs, you consistently ski parallel turns and can control your speed and line down the mountain
• You can probably ski some black runs with a “I can get down anything” attitude but with less control and style
• You are ski fit and able to ski a full day in any weather, love skiing and are very motivated to improve
• You have probably skied one or two weeks a year for the last five years and have taken professional instruction along the way.

Other experience & attitude!

NO climbing or mountaineering experience is required. This is an intensive course with a small group so you do need to be a socialble person to enjoy this course and embrace the shared accommodation option which is obligatory.

A very clear “health warning”

Be realistic about your ski level and don’t hesitate to consult WMT to discuss your suitability for this course BEFORE you book. Be assured though that this is not a ski racing, extreme skiing or steep skiing course and all ages are welcome. We must state that if you attend and it is clear that you don’t meet the skiing standard or are not ski fit and able to keep up, we do not have the resources to offer 1 to 1 training so you will need to do your own thing. It is not possible to dip in and out of each training day if, for example, you sign up but aren’t fit enough to ski a full day or want to join in later in the day. This is just not logistically practical. If you feel you are an expert skier, you may be frustrated with the pace as we teach/coach those of a lower standard. This is also NOT a ski club “safari” or Crystal ski holiday with late starts, lots of coffee stops and faffing. This is an intense and fun group experience. Only ski fit, team players that meet the minimum ski standard are welcomed on the most physically demanding course WMT offers.

What is ski touring?

Ski touring describes using special bindings and skins stuck on the base of the skis to enable one to climb – slide uphill essentially. This enables us to reach areas inaccessible by ski lifts so by definition we’re going off piste or back-country where the snow is not groomed or avalanche controlled. We don’t promise to turn you into a back-country ski guru in 5 days but we’ll get you started.

How is this course different to the normal Chamonix winter course?

Quick answer – more depth, less breadth. It’s a much smaller group, requires a minimum skiing standard, a high level of fitness and includes 5 days of guided ski tuition and guiding in addition to medical training, on and off the slopes. See details of our broader Chamonix Expedition Medicine in January 2019.

Group accommodation – obligatory

WMT will organise shared room, self-catering apartment or chalet accommodation for 7 nights for all students and charge this at cost (budget £200 – £300 per head for 7 nights). It is obligatory to join in on the accommodation arrangements due to the social and dynamic nature and logistical challenges of running this course. You’ll be asked to equally split the cost of the weekly rental with other house mates even if you don’t stay for the full week. We are unlikely to offer single rooms.

Course fees 2019 – held at 2018 rates. What’s included?

• Pre-travel and kit advice
• Co-ordination of shared accommodation by WMT
• All instruction/tuition/lectures – 5 days of skiing and 4 days with medical input
• Loan of avalanche safety equipment as required; avalanche transceiver, shovel & probe
• WMT Medic Course Notes (A5 200+ page book)
• In-resort mini-van transportation to/from the slopes
• Anything else not expressly mentioned above is excluded

What’s not included in the fee?

• Ski equipment – some days you’ll require touring skis which you can rent if you don’t have your own
• Ski passes – everyone must buy a Chamonix Rapid Card in advance (25 to 50 euros depending on when you get it). This is a pay as you go ski pass linked to your credit card so there is no queing for ski passes each day (applies only in the Chamonix resort area, Les Houches and Megeve). It will normally save you money and everyone the hassle of queing.
• Meals, drinks, cost of shared accommodation, flights, insurance, airport transfers

Flights & airport transfers to Chamonix

Fly to Geneva. From Geneva it’s just over an hour by minibus transfer to Chamonix with CVT, our transfer partners.


We estimate that this programme is valid for up to 20 CPD hours.

This course on Facebook

Link coming after 2019 dates are set.

Programme flexibility

The outdoor component and ski plans will always be flexible to take account of the snow conditions, weather and abilities of the group. A mountain programme cannot be written in stone and participants need to appreciate that this isn’t a normal “course” with a set timetable and structure. Rest assured we’ll pack in as much learning, skiing and medical training as circumstances, safety and the overall group level permits.

Considering joining us?

If you’re certain you meet the skiing standard please book online. If you’re uncertain or have any questions please email wmt AT or call Barry on +44 (0)7967 032930.