Avalanche means danger to life – the right reaction determines life and death. In the Alps alone, more than 100 people die each year from it. If you yourself are in an emergency situation with an avalanche, you should have the most important behavioral tips in your head: what to do?
Avalanches are not the exception, they are normality. Their number is estimated at one million per year worldwide. Outgoing snowboards reach speeds of over 300 km/h and unleash enormous forces.
Know danger levels, avoid risks
Anyone who gets into an avalanche as a skier or snowboarder needs good equipment, expert knowledge, quick help and above all luck. Two out of three victims do not survive.
Despite all the technical improvements in avalanche protection and equipment, the best protection is to avoid risk areas. Specifically, there are five different levels of danger in the European Lawenin Hazard Scale, each with the following recommendations outside the secure zones:
|1||Low||Generally safe conditions|
|2||Moderate||Most favorable conditions. Careful route choice, especially on steep slopes of the specified exposure and altitude|
|3||Significant||Partly unfavorable conditions. Experience in avalanche assessment required. Avoid as far as possible the steep slopes of the given exposure and altitude|
|4||Big||Unfavorable conditions. Much experience in avalanche assessment required. Observe limitation to moderately steep terrain/avalanche outlet areas|
|5||Very Large||Very unfavorable conditions. Disclaimer recommended|
Learn to assess the danger yourself
Those who take the risk beyond the groomed slopes should be aware of the danger. It is not always “just” the others! Experienced skiers or tourists often become victims, because the accumulation of sports trips in the deep snow increases the risk.
Avalanche protection measures are:
- Never go alone: whoever is buried, depends on help. Mostly between life and death in the snow are barely 15 minutes.
- Regularly attend training courses offered by, for example, ski schools and the DSV.
- Keep your distance to other snowboarders and skiers on dangerous slopes.
Be aware to detect dangers early on, for example, by sounds under the snow cover.