Over 50 Avalanche Deaths in the Alps so far this Season

    Published on March 19th, 2015 | by David Harrison

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    Photo by sgillies

    Is there anything better than a remote spot, fresh, light powder, deafening silence and clear blue skies. For many extreme skiers and boarders the ultimate rush is finding this utopia and enjoying the challenge against the mountain and nature.

    However, there is increasing evidence that nature is starting to win this battle, and the risks of skiing and boarding on virgin snow are starting to become too great. Many people defend the right to roam and seek new snow challenges – but are the risks outweighing the benefits?

    In Switzerland alone there have been 18 avalanche deaths so far this season, and over 50 deaths in the Alps this winter. The situation has been worse this season given the formation of a layer of Hoar frost above 2000m in November – and this, combined with sun and increasing temperatures has created a deadly cocktail. Nature is flexing its muscles.

    The degree of risk one is willing to take is down to each individual but there is little doubt that many are re considering where the acceptable line is. Is it worth the ultimate price?
    The best advice is to carry the correct equipment – ABS airbag, shovel, transceiver probe etc and only head out to the back country when the avalanche warning is a 1 out of 5.

    It will always be an individual choice – but the increasing number of deaths is calling the “back country experience” into question.

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