Two Swiss ski resorts are hosting freeride awareness days this winter to help skiers improve their freeride experience, partly by playing it safe. The 'Freeday' comes to Leysin in the Vaudoise Alps on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009 and to Grimentz in the Val d'Anniviers on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010.

Participants will get off the groomed pistes, following guides and pro riders, to learn how to act and react during a day of freeriding. Skiers and boarders will discover the best way to handle the terrain, how to read an avalanche bulletin to avoid putting themselves at risk, and how to use search equipment to find avalanche victims. The guides will also talk about the stereotypes and false ideas surrounding freeride skiing.

The Freeday isn't all theory however. These sessions will alternate with practical exercises - tracing a few lines in the fresh powder if the conditions are suitable.

Registration is already open on the event's Web site. Registration costs CHF50 and should be paid on site at the bottom of the lifts. The price covers a one-day ski pass, the guide, and avalanche victim search gear hire. Bring your own skis or snowboard as well as a back pack with lunch and drinks for the day.

This event offers an opportunity to start the season right with reminders of how to stay safe off the pistes but also gives you the chance to discover two charming Swiss resorts.

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