More Avalanche Awareness needed in Europe

Posted by Andy Gavin on Sat, 2006-03-04 12:09

Lucky nobody was killed in an avalanche this week in italy. European avalanche deaths are at a record high this year. There seems to be a growing trend of people riding irresponsibly. Riding off-piste needs awareness of where avalaches may or may-not happen. There has always been people who have wanted to ski the risky terrain. Perhaps it's a misunderstanding of the sport: new skool skiers don't ski off drops without the right equipment to be safe.

Skiing off piste without a guide or without the skills to analyse the snowpack is not just risky, it's stupid. Getting caught in an avalanche is not a pleasant experience, it is most likely that if you were to get caught in one that you cannot rely on the emergency services to rescue you. Transeivers are essential. Buried at any depth greater than a metre in an avalanche has next to none survival rates. If you do get trapped near the surface your friends need to rescue you quick. The energy and force of the Avalanche caused the snow so set very hard indeed.

Good working equipment is essential, with a knowledge and respect of the mountain.

Perhaps a European Initiative is needed like the Avalanche Foundation in Canada to promote public safty in the mountains.

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