TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR BOOKINGS WITH AVALANCHE ACADEMY LTD
Updated November 2020
Mountains are dangerous. When booking you must accept that there is a level of risk.
You must come fully insured for the activities which you will be doing, for rescue and emergency care, and for repatriation.
Covid – Your insurance cover should include cover for all aspects of Covid including cancellation due to contracting Covid and cancellation due to travel restrictions.
- >60 days or more before the Start Date – full refund.
- 60-45 days before the Start Date - loss of 20%.
- 45-30 days before the Start Date - loss of 50% of total trip cost.
- <30 days before Departure Date – loss of 100% total trip cost.
NB: IF YOU WISH TO SWAP A COURSE BOOKING TO ANOTHER DATE YOU MUST NOTIFY
THE COMPANY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE ORIGINAL COURSE WILL BE RE-ADVERTISED,
AND IF A REPLACEMENT CAN BE FOUND THERE WILL BE NO CHARGE. IF A REPLACEMENT
CANNOT BE FOUND THE COMPANY WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO PROVIDE ANY REFUND.
“When something becomes predictable and absolutely safe, it ceases to be
exciting. Travelling in the mountains in winter, whether on foot or on skis
or snowboards, will carry risks. Being off-piste means we will not always
be in patrolled areas, and thus risks will be higher than within normal ski
area boundaries or low-lying regions. This implies an inherent and
intractable risk of injury or, in the extreme, death. Anyone considering
taking part needs to consider this very seriously and to take
responsibility for their own participation.
Our trips are conducted in wild areas, where the weather can change
quickly. If you are injured, poor weather alone can mean a delayed
evacuation and so a worse medical outcome than for a similar accident
nearer to home.
We hope that joining one of our trips will be an enjoyable, educational and
rewarding experience. However, in order to take part you have to accept the
A “course” is defined as any trip which takes place within the European
Economic Area, United Kingdom or Switzerland.
An “expedition” is defined as any trip which takes place outside the
European Economic Area and Switzerland or where the package being
offered for sale includes an option of purchasing an international
flight between the United Kingdom and the destination country (whether
such flight is in fact purchased by you or not).
An “extension” is any short tour that is so described on the website or
in the brochure, which is priced separately and is bought as an
optional add-on to a “course” or an “expedition”.
An “extension” may only be bought by you if a booking for a “course” or
an “expedition”, to which it can be attached, exists in your name.
“Trip” is used interchangeably within these booking conditions to mean
either an “expedition” or “course”.
“Guide” is used to describe anyone employed by the Company, whether in
an instructional capacity, Mountain Guiding capacity, or trip leader.
All bookings are made with Avalanche Academy Limited, Registered
Company Number 07782093 (hereinafter referred to as the Company) whose
registered office is Whitefriars, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NT, United
You are advised to take out travel insurance when you book, to protect you in some circumstances if you have to cancel. Insurance should include cover for Covid.
The contract between you and the Company will come into existence once
the company has issued to you a letter/e-mail confirming your booking,
an invoice and all relevant additional information, being either an
expedition dossier or course joining instructions, as appropriate. An
on-screen confirmation for website bookings constitutes commencement of
a contract. Non receipt of a confirmation e-mail by you does not
constitute non commencement of a contract,.
The contract will continue until the expedition or course, along with
any booked extension, has ended but such expiry shall not affect
accrued rights and liabilities of the parties nor any continuing
Once your booking has been confirmed, you must promptly submit, if
required according to the itinerary you have booked, via the website or
by post, a previous experience questionnaire and a medical declaration.
After reviewing these, the Company may advise you to transfer to
another trip, or cancel your booking. If you are so advised, you must
transfer or cancel, as advised, but may do so without penalty as long
as the date your completed forms are received is within one month of
the date you booked and no later than the date on which your final
balance for the trip is due, as shown on the invoice you received when
your booking was confirmed.
If the Company receives your forms outside these time limits, no
matter when you booked, the normal cancellation and transfer conditions
will apply, and you will be liable for the appropriate charges.
Extensions to expedition itineraries and course programmes can be
purchased separately. The arrangements for extensions are made on an
individual basis once a booking is made. Extensions are subject to a
separate deposit. Confirmation of receipt by the Company of your
extension deposit will not be confirmation of your extension as it will
not be possible at that time for the Company to confirm that the booked
extension will be available or that it will be identical to that shown
in the marketing material. The Company will confirm all the
arrangements to you before you pay your final balance (which will be
due at the same time as the final balance for the expedition or course
to which it is an extension). Should the confirmed extension itinerary
be significantly different to the published one then you will be free
to cancel the extension only (not the expedition or course, to which it
is attached) and a refund will be made.
Medical and Welfare
The aim of medical screening is to enable participation and to ensure,
as far as is reasonable, that all risks have been evaluated and
understood. If you have any medical problem or disability, you are
required to inform the Company before you complete your booking form so
that you can be advised of the suitability of the trip, health and
safety considerations and what, if any, reasonable adjustments are
required to be made. In any event, you must notify the Company via the
medical declaration of any medical problems or disabilities. If any
medical problems or disabilities are suffered or arise between the
medical declaration being submitted and the Departure Date you must
notify the Company immediately. The Company reserves the right to
decline or cancel a booking without having to pay any compensation if:
i) any medical problem or disability likely to affect your participation is
disclosed on the medical declaration form;
ii) any medical problem or disability is disclosed after the medical
declaration form is submitted but before the Departure Date; or
iii) any medical problem or disability is not disclosed; provided that in
the Company’s belief such medical problem or disability is likely to
endanger your health and safety and/ or the health and safety of anyone
else participating in the trip.
The Company may require you to obtain confirmation from a medical
professional that you are fit to travel and participate in the trip.
You acknowledge and agree that concerning your medical welfare the
Company has a duty to you and to the other participants and, as such,
if the Company reasonably believes that you are not sufficiently fit to
take part in the trip, the Company may decline or cancel the booking at
any time at their complete discretion.
Where you have come into contact with any infectious disease you must
notify the Company immediately. Where the Departure Date falls within
the accepted quarantine period for transmission of the disease, the
Company reserves the right to cancel the booking as set out above; this
shall be deemed to be cancellation arising from an event of Force
Majeure pursuant to these terms and conditions and no compensation
shall be payable to you.
You may pay your deposit and balance using any lawful means. The total
amount received by the Company’s bank must be no less than the full
amount shown on your invoice, and paid in the invoiced denomination
into the appropriate account of that same denomination. If sending
money by electronic (bank) transfer then you must pay the remitter’s
(your) fees and the beneficiaries (the Company’s) fees.
If payment is made by credit card, a 2% charge will be added to the
total amount due to the Company (this applies to all payments including
deposits, interim payments, balances and miscellaneous purchases.) For
courses under 7 days these charges will not be levied. This amount is
to cover the charges imposed by the credit card payment service
provider and is used, in part, to provide consumer protection for goods
and services purchased, in accordance with the terms and conditions
pertaining to the credit card being used. This charge can be avoided by
using a debit card (for deposits, for example) or by sending a Sterling
or Euro cheque (for balances). Cheques will not be accepted in any
other denominations; please arrange a banker’s draft or bank transfer
Any interim payment and the final balance for your trip, and for any
extension booked along with it, must reach the Company by no later than
the due date (the due date for the final balance is shown on the
invoice you receive when your booking is confirmed).
In the unlikely event that it becomes necessary to amend the price of
the trip, the following conditions will apply:
i) Increases arising directly from transportation costs such as surcharges
levied by airlines, the cost of fuel, taxes, duties or fees chargeable for
services such as landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at
ports and airports and fluctuation in exchange rates may be passed on and
you will be invoiced accordingly;
ii) If increases become necessary, you may cancel your booking without
penalty if the increase amounts to more than 10% of the cost of the trip;
iii) You will not be charged for any increase of up to 2% of the price of
the trip and in the event that the price of the trip goes down by more than
2% the difference will be repaid to you (though you should note that owing
to the way the Company pays for trips, some apparent changes will not
impact on the price of the trip; the Company tries to give you the
advantage of any predicted benefit in the exchange rate with a competitive
price from the outset).
Transfers and cancellations
Cancellation by you
Notice of cancellation by you must be given in writing/e mail. Should
you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
- >60 days or more before the Start Date – full refund.
- 60-45 days before the Start Date - loss of 20% (usually this is your deposit).
- 45-30 days before the Start Date - loss of 50% of total trip cost.
- <30 days before Departure Date – loss of 100% total trip cost.
NB: IF YOU WISH TO SWAP A COURSE BOOKING TO ANOTHER DATE YOU MUST
NOTIFY THE COMPANY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE ORIGINAL COURSE WILL BE
RE-ADVERTISED, AND IF A REPLACEMENT CAN BE FOUND THERE WILL BE NO
CHARGE. IF A REPLACEMENT CANNOT BE FOUND THE COMPANY WILL NOT BE LIABLE
TO PROVIDE ANY REFUND.
Similar terms are adopted throughout the travel industry and cover the
costs of advance payments made by the Company. Cancellation charges may
be covered, in part, by your travel insurance provided the reason for
cancellation falls within the terms of the policy.
After your booking has been confirmed, if you wish to transfer from one
trip to another of the same type (i.e. expedition to expedition, course
to course), an administration charge of £20 per person, per booking,
will be payable. At the same time, you must pay any costs that the
Company has incurred in respect of your booking, such as deposits paid
to airlines or agents, if these are neither refundable nor
transferable. Transfers between trips are entirely at the Company’s
discretion and in any event will not be affected until all such fees
and costs are received by the Company.
Transfer requests must be received by the Company in writing/e-mail at
its registered office and before the balance due date. A transfer
request after this point will be treated as a cancellation and the
transfer fee will not be accepted.
You cannot transfer from an expedition for which the deposit is more
than £300 (or the equivalent in foreign currency). You cannot transfer
a booking from an expedition to a course. However, nothing in this
condition shall prevent you from transferring your place on the trip to
another individual in accordance with these terms and conditions, as
long as that individual matches or exceeds the requirements of the trip
in terms of previous experience.
You may transfer your booking more than once, as long as you pay the
transfer fee on each separate occasion, at the rate prevailing at the
time of payment, and pay any costs incurred by the Company in respect
of each booking held. The final trip to which your original deposit is
transferred must start within 18 calendar months of the start date of
the trip originally booked. Failure to travel within this time will be
taken as a cancellation of the original booking, regardless of the
payment of any transfer fees or costs in the intervening period. Under
such circumstances, the deposit and any money paid to affect a
transfer, or transfers, will be forfeited.
Cancellation by us
The Company receives regular travel advice from the United Kingdom
Foreign Office (the ‘FO’) and will not knowingly operate trips in
contravention of such advice. In the event of civil unrest in a
particular region, the Company undertakes to inform clients of the
situation as soon as it has knowledge of it.
A trip may be cancelled if FO advice effectively puts the destination
country or significant parts of the country out-of-bounds such as to
make the principal objective unachievable. If the principal objective
remains achievable in observance of FO advice, the itinerary will be
altered and the trip will not be cancelled. For example, the FO may
advise that it is unsafe to traverse an area which lies on the
published approach route (whether by trek or vehicle), or to visit a
specified town. In such circumstances, if the objective can be reached
by using an alternative route, that will be done and the trip will not
If the FO does not issue unambiguous advice against travel, a
disinclination to travel on the basis of a perceived threat or hazard,
howsoever formed, will be interpreted as a cancellation and the
cancellation charges set out in these booking conditions will apply.
This does not affect your right to transfer between trips under the
terms of these booking conditions.
Non-UK Nationals should consult their own government for advice on
travel to the destination country and all countries transited en route.
The Company will not be bound by the advice of such foreign
governments, nor will any of these booking conditions be waived, save
where such advice coincides with the advice of the FO.
A Trip may be cancelled as a result of an event of Force Majeure, which
are events which are unforeseeable and beyond the Company’s control
including but not limited to war, riot, industrial dispute, terrorist
activity, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, epidemics or health risks,
closed or congested airports, ports or stations, changes imposed by
re-scheduling or cancellation of transport, adverse weather conditions
(whether actual or threatened) avalanche, storm, flood, typhoon,
hurricane and technical failure with any form of transport or facility.
NB: Your insurance must include cover for cancellation due to
Team/course/group sizes described in any publication or on the website
are target sizes and may be increased or decreased at the discretion of
the Company. The Company gives no undertaking as to the minimum or
maximum size of a team, course or group, but do undertake to ensure
that Leaders, Guides, Instructors and support staff are supplied in
appropriate numbers to ensure the principal objectives of the
expedition or course can be achieved. Similarly, Leaders, Guides,
Instructors and support staff named in tour descriptions, anywhere in
the literature or on the website, may also be changed at any time.
The Company reserves the right to cancel any expedition, course or
extension which does not have sufficient people taking part to make it
financially viable, or to cancel your participation alone if not to do
so would result in a financial penalty. By the same token, The Company
will endeavour to ensure that a trip runs if at all possible. If your
booking is likely to be cancelled under such circumstances, the Company
undertakes to inform you as soon as possible.
Anyone booked onto a trip which is cancelled by the Company will be
entitled to a full refund or entitled to transfer to another trip and
no transfer fee will be payable. Should you transfer to another trip
any difference in price will be invoiced or credited accordingly.
Leadership and programme delivery
The programmes published in the literature and on the website are
designed to be illustrative in order to best explain the scope and type
of activities you will be undertaking. During a trip, every effort will
be made to adhere to the planned itinerary, but it must be realised that
with adventurous activities of this type, or by being in the developing
world, or by being in mountainous areas, or by visiting regions with
limited infrastructure by virtue of their remoteness or otherwise, or
with worldwide travel in general, changes to the itinerary will occur.
As such, circumstances may arise where the Company are forced to alter
dates, trip duration, flight schedules, trekking routes, mountains to
be climbed, locations visited or hotel accommodation, either during or
before a trip has commenced, possibly at short notice. Whilst the
Company will try to inform you of any such changes as soon as they know
of them, they accept no liability for, or the consequences of, any such
In assessing the conditions expected to be encountered in the mountains
or the abilities of the team members, the Guide (or deputies with
delegated authority) may decide to change any aspect of the trip if he
or she believes that to continue with the itinerary or activities, or
any latterly agreed alternatives, would place anyone at undue risk.
Alternatively, he or she may make changes for the simple belief that
such changes may be more enjoyable or better suited or beneficial for
most of those taking part. The Guide will review and may alter the
programme as the trip progresses in response to the changing influence
of variable factors.
The Guide (or deputies with delegated authority) will do his or her
utmost to ensure that any problems are solved for the benefit of the
majority of those taking part. Signing (whether physically, or
electronically) the booking form signifies your acceptance of the
Guide’s authority to make decisions affecting the group or individuals.
For instance, the Guide may require an individual or individuals to
leave the trip if he or she believes that a person, or a person’s
health, is at risk, if an illegal act has been or may be committed, or
behaviour may become, or has been, detrimental to the safety, enjoyment
or well-being of the group or of any individual within the group.
A client leaving a trip at any stage, for whatever reason, will not be
entitled to any refund or to compensation unless agreed by a Director
of the Company.
Many trips involve going to high-altitude and carry an inherent risk of
altitude illness. Similarly, many trips visit remote locations or
poorly developed regions where infrastructure is limited. In such
places, the risks to health are increased and the ability to treat
injury or illness effectively is reduced. Additionally, anything that
involves crossing glaciated terrain or snow-bound passes, or travel on
skis, are hazardous activities with a risk of serious injury or death.
By signing (whether physically, or electronically) these booking
conditions you acknowledge these hazards and your acceptance of the
Neither the Company nor any of their representatives will be
responsible for any illness, injury or death sustained on their trips,
except where such illness, injury or death is caused by their
negligence or that of their representatives, nor will they be liable
for any uninsured loss of personal property.
Subject to the provisions of clause 40, the Company’s liability in
tort, contract or otherwise, shall be limited to three times the price
payable for an individual’s participation. The Company’s liability will
also be limited in accordance with and/or in an identical manner to any
relevant international Convention (for example, the Montreal Convention
in respect of travel by air, the Athens Convention in respect of travel
by sea, the Berne Convention in respect of travel by rail and the Paris
Convention in respect of the provision of accommodation) which limit
the amount of compensation that you can claim for death, injury, delay
to passengers and loss, damage and delay to luggage.
Some trips, especially expeditions, have days in the itinerary that are
included to provide flexibility in case of bad weather, or some other
untoward event, and thereby increase the chance of the principal
objective being achieved and for the trip to be successful. If these
days are not needed in order to achieve the aims of the trip and the
team/ course /group decides to return (for instance) from the mountains
to a valley location earlier than planned, any additional costs
incurred and associated with extra hotel nights, or services that would
not otherwise have been provided nor were included in the published
itinerary, must be met by each individual concerned at the time.
For all trips, you are advised to have insurance that covers you for
all the activities, specifically those deemed to be hazardous,
included in the itinerary and for any activities you may undertake if
travelling on an extension whether arranged by the Company or
For all trips outside the United Kingdom, you must have adequate
insurance cover for search, helicopter rescue and repatriation in the
event of a medical emergency. Your travel insurance provider must agree
beforehand to meet the costs of any search, rescue or recovery, for
medical reasons, of you to the nearest appropriate medical facility
even if prior authorization from the insurer may not be possible due to
the remoteness of the recovery area or because medical expediency
demands your recovery before such authorization could be received.
In case of a suspected or confirmed emergency involving you or the
group of which you are a member, the Company reserves the right to
arrange (or to make arrangements for its or your insurers to arrange)
search, rescue and recovery as it deems appropriate and reasonable. You
agree to indemnify the Company and keep the Company indemnified from
all losses, apportioned appropriately to you, arising from any such
search, any such helicopter usage and any resulting repatriation, for
medical or non-medical reasons, including legal costs of making a
recovery against you.
You will be provided with a list of all equipment required to bring on
to the trip. You may hire/borrow some items of equipment from the
Company. It is your responsibility to ensure that all equipment is fit
for purpose prior to the Departure Date and for the duration of the
trip. You are responsible for your equipment and belongings during the
trip and bear the sole responsibility for wear and tear and incidental
damage to your equipment. The Company recommend that you take out
adequate insurance to cover your own equipment, and any items
hired/borrowed from the Company as you will be liable for its
replacement should it be damaged or lost.
In the event that you elect to hire any equipment from the Company, you
may be required to pay a deposit to the Company in addition to the
applicable hire charges. Deposits are not collected for equipment hired
or made available to you when participating on a course, as the
equipment will be issued and collected back from you in venue.
You will be responsible for any hired equipment throughout the trip and
in the event that it is not returned to the Company on the last day of
the trip in good condition (excluding normal wear and tear) the
deposit, if paid, shall be forfeited and you agree to indemnify the
Company and keep the Company indemnified from all losses arising from
damage to the equipment including legal costs of making a recovery
The Company may provide some equipment for a trip (such as ropes,
avalanche-transceivers etc) and are responsible for the maintenance of
such equipment. Where you deliberately or recklessly cause damage to
any such equipment, whether during the trip or during any pre-trip
training, you shall indemnify the Company and keep the Company
indemnified from all losses arising from any such wilful or reckless
damage so caused including legal costs of making a recovery against
If you have a problem during the trip, please inform the Guide
immediately who will endeavour to put things right. If your complaint
is not resolved locally, please follow this up by writing to the
Managing Director at the Company’s registered office giving your trip
name, the departure date and all other relevant information and, where
possible, evidence. Any such complaint must be received not later than
28 days of the date of your return from the trip. Please keep your
letter concise and to the point. This will assist in identifying
quickly your concerns and speed up the response to you.
If you fail to follow this procedure, the Company will have been
deprived of the opportunity to investigate and rectify your complaint
whilst you are in-country and this may affect your rights under this
Contract as you will have failed to have mitigated (minimised) your
losses and will be unable to recover compensation for this element
Agents and representatives, other than a Director of the Company are
not entitled to promise refunds for whatever reason, and the Company
will not be bound by any such promises.
These booking conditions may only be waived or amended by a Director of
the Company. Such waivers or amendments will only be made in special
circumstances, and must be made in writing to be effective.
The terms and conditions of all agreements made with the Company shall
be subject to, and governed by, English law and the courts of England
and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute.
When making your booking it is implied and accepted that you have read
and understood all these booking conditions and agree to abide by them.
The Company shall ensure that appropriate security measures are in
place to protect your personal data (as defined in the Data Protection
Act 1998). When you make a booking, you consent to all the information
you provide being passed on to the Company’s suppliers, agents,
sub-contractors, employees or volunteers whether based inside or
outside the European Economic Area for the purposes of our providing
you with the trip.
By agreeing to these booking conditions, you consent to the Company’s
staff taking photographs and/or video footage of you during the Trip
and that these images may be used by the Company for publicity and
training purposes including, but not limited to, in brochures, websites
and in the media.