Meet our Beta Testers and Experts: Åsmund Steen — craving more knowledge
Åsmund has acquired a lot of knowledge about avalanche in his years of skiing, and is curious for more.
Åsmund (40) is originally from Bø in Telemark, but lives at Sunnmøre with his family and two kids. He works in The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), region Ålesund-Sunnmøre. He has always been a ski enthusiast and started ski mountaineering when he moved to Sunnmøre in 1999. Åsmund has acquired a lot of knowledge about avalanche through education and coursing, instruction and practice.
‘I’ve always been skiing a lot, but it really took off when we moved to Sunnmøre. I also excelled my knowledge when I attended the Volda University College.’ Åsmund tells Think Outside. ‘In 2012, DNT introduced avalanche education, and I thought that was something I should sign up for. Currently I am an avalanche instructor level 1, which is useful for me personally as well as for DNT.’
When Think Outside asked Åsmund about his favourite skiing areas, he can´t give us a specific favourite place. ‘I don’t have one or two favourite spots, but currently I like Inner Sunnmøre and Inner Romsdal, in the area with Valldal and Geiranger. I like to check out new places that I haven’t experienced before, and need some variation. So, I don’t really have a favourite spot per se’.
Åsmund tells us about an intimidating accident that happened in the back country: ‘There was this large wind drifted snow slab that came loose. It broke underneath me and pulled me out on to the edge and I ended up laying with my legs partly over the edge and my head inwards towards the wall stuck in an awkward position, like tipping on a tilt kind of. My trail on the slab was further inbound than other recent ski tracks, yet obviously far enough out on the slab that it broke. I was really lucky that I wasn’t pulled all the way off the edge!’
A milk cartoon with Sknow and CEO Monica Vaksdal caught Åsmund´s attention. He got curious and checked out the website; ‘I was initially skeptical. Usually, new types of things often come from a bachelor’s degree from entrepreneurship in Trondheim, but this was something totally different.’ Åsmund says. ‘I haven’t seen anything like it and got curious because I have had the thought myself of some kind of scanner that could go over an area and measure snow depth. And now there was someone making this, so I just had to send in a application to join!’. A healthy skepticism followed along with the application to join as a beta-skier: ‘I was initially skeptical to the user-friendliness of this for the skier. How will the skier use this device? I don’t know exactly what the end-result will be, but if you easily can get a warning sign if something is potentially dangerous by the sensor blinking red, then it’s a great progress towards avalanche safety. It’s all in the head of the skier, so if you ignore the information you get, then you can’t blame anyone else but yourself if it goes wrong’ Åsmund tells us. ‘Also, I think I personally can learn from the process of being part of this beta-season, learning more about snow layers and dangerous snow layers. The curiosity of all of this is part of the attraction.’
For safe travels in the winter mountain, Åsmund has the following advice: ‘Basically, have a tidy and clear plan for your trip. Find out in advance where to go and where to take breaks, which line to choose and plan the route accordingly. Watch out for terrain traps. The group should have control on each other and expose as few as possible of any potential dangers at the same time. I can also say that you shouldn’t ski above 30 degrees, but that’s really boring to say and nobody will probably listen to that anyways.’
Think Outside are very pleased to have Åsmund as a part of the beta-season, and are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration!