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On piste avalanche fatalities

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does anyone have any statistics regarding avalanches which have hit on - piste areas, and any fatalities which occurred as a result?

The reason I ask is because I will often ski alone, and so going off piste is pretty much out of the question mainly because of the avalanche risk. If the risk of avalanche is low, then I do not have so much of a concern of going off piste. (for example I will ski on the local hill where there is rarely an avalanche risk because the snow tends not to build up in layers. It will fall, harden, and then melt)

Much of the equipment for avalanche safety, is only of use to you if you are going to dig or find a burried person (or to survive a little longer). None appears to be of use to help you get yourself out of a hole. For example, a gyroscopic (so it knows which way is up) battery powered snow digger could be attached to your helmet. (just an example which might work)

I suppose the James Bond example of wearing a parachute might help if you are trying to escape an avalache. You could just take off in to the air!

Anyone else with any good ideas of how to escape/avoid/dig yourself out of a hole?

NehNeh
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Heated gloves, melt you way out. Don't forget your avalanche dog and bacon too.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
http://pistehors.com/backcountry/wiki/Avalanches/Accident-Statistics

http://www.avalanche-center.org/Incidents/

http://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_images/Slide11.JPG

is a start, ive seen a much better combined table of all avalanch deaths somewhere but cant recall where it was, there are a significant number of on piste avalanch fatalities in the stats, but relatively small in %tage terms
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clarky999, And a long pink ribbon Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bacon is a brilliant idea, it will give you something to eat if you get peckish and want to pause whilst digging yourself out.
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There are always a few inbounds slides in the US and Canada every year (but not strictly on piste usually). Fatalities rare. A decent spring wet slide can easily travel over pistes which is why its best not to ignore pisteur warning/closure signs on the basis that you skied it that morning and it was fine. As for safety kit it seems airbags are rapidly building a case given that increased video footage is enabling us to see real situations where they've worked.

But nothing beats avalanche bacon and a studfinder.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
kevindonkleywood wrote:
http://pistehors.com/backcountry/wiki/Avalanches/Accident-Statistics

http://www.avalanche-center.org/Incidents/

http://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_images/Slide11.JPG

is a start, ive seen a much better combined table of all avalanch deaths somewhere but cant recall where it was, there are a significant number of on piste avalanch fatalities in the stats, but relatively small in %tage terms


The graph shows that the number of fatalities from Snowmobilers has been on the rise quite sharply since 1990. I have yet to find any statistics regarding on-piste avalanche related fatalities though. The on and off piste figures on the cumulative fatalities show similar numbers, yet there will be much fewer people skiing off piste than ski on piste. So the rate of death is therefore much higher off piste than on piste.

Ski touring and climbing appear to be a more hazardous pastime! Perhaps there are just more people doing these than the others in the graph.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Its surprising that skiwear companies have not used this as a marketing tool.........."improved bacon pocket on all our new range of jackets"

having said that
Quote:
improved bacon pocket
does sound a little like an option on a ladies plastic surgery list
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Laughing
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
I was with a group involved in a serious avalanche off-piste in Val d'Isere in March. The following day, this occurred in Tignes at about 3PM. It's the same nature of slide on the same aspect of hill but in this case it has crossed a blue piste. No fatalities AFAIK, just the bemusement of some less experienced skiers.

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I find 'proper' bacon difficult to obtain abroad, but I'm guessing that in French resorts lardons would suffice, in Italy prosciutto crudo and in Austria/Switzerland the cheaper cuts of schweinefleisch.
I'm unsure what to recommend to Jewish/Muslim/Vegan skiers - perhaps Quorn would work just as well as a substitute, although I'm unsure of it's kosher credentials.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
admin, I've seen a considerable amount of debris partway across a piste in St Anton some years ago - but never as much as that. Suggests the pisteurs hadn't done a review of on-to-piste avalanche risk following your incident. I am sure the guys at Tignes would have been well aware of what happened over the other side. To be fair, I think they are normally pretty sharp - so I am quite surprised.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
achilles, to be fair, the slope we were on was in Val d'Isere rather than Tignes, steeper at the point it triggered and a well known off-piste route renowned for being a risk later in the day in Spring time.

The exceptional element and what caught our guide out, I think, was that unusually high temperatures were bringing the risk much earlier in the day. The snow pack being as fragile as it was, this meant uncommonly bad things happened on slopes of a similar aspect and although each of the events is an example of this, I can understand why they wouldn't make the connection.

I do think Espace Killy should review the way they assess conditions though. The pisteurs' report, the day of our accident, said that the aspect our accident occurred on was the least risky and a man I know who knows, said that there seemed to be an uncommon concentration of insurance claims from that area this season.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
daveyladboy, Nah, even avalanche poodles are too cool for that veggie crap.

achilles, could well be Happy Valley, regularly closed in spring due to avalanche risk, and skiers on the piste have been taken out by slides there before (not sure if there were any fatalities though).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
How about a ski pole which was hollow in the middle, which could have an inflatable put on the end which could be inflated by a trigger in the handle. Therefore, you might have a snorkel which would find its way above the snow pack in an avalanche?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@achilles, I was very nearly hit by an avalanche in St.Anton on the trail that brings you back from Schindlerkar to the Schindler lift. Basically the whole of the slope to the right side of the Schindler chair (looking up) came down about 20 seconds after I had traversed it. I guess this qualifies as a ski route rather than a piste, but it is controlled... maybe not very well. I've had similar experiences in Kleinwalsertal, where a big slide came down just behind me on the valley run from Kanzelwand down to Riezlern. Again we were lucky, and nobody else was caught, so all's well!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bigtipper, Finding stats of people killed in resort on piste by an avalanche will take some doing.
I did read once that in an analysis of fatalities, the safest number in a group touring, was one! I suspect the data was severely skewed by the fact that the only people who would ski alone would be experienced and also be being careful.

There are lots of off piste runs that I am happy to do alone, avalanches being one risk, but getting assistance with an injury being another. I wouldn’t be happy on anything I didn’t know, or if it was steep plus if there weren’t plenty of other skiers around.

Of all the safety stuff I carry I suspect the most important is a phone.

I did hear once that once your head gets buried, you have about one in six chance of surviving, which rockets to one in five if you have all the kit. An airbag will help avoid getting buried but I suspect on piste you’re way more likely to get hurt either hitting something or something hitting you.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
daveyladboy wrote:

I'm unsure what to recommend to Jewish/Muslim/Vegan skiers


Bacon and get a life Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

Can vegetarians eat bacon then? wink
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martinm wrote:
daveyladboy wrote:

I'm unsure what to recommend to Jewish/Muslim/Vegan skiers


Bacon and get a life Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

Can vegetarians eat bacon then? wink


In France, lardons are considered to be vegetarian.

Henry’s Avalanche talks is the place for stats.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
bar shaker wrote:

In France, lardons are considered to be vegetarian.


I could get to like the French yet Wink
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here are the stats requested:

https://www.geogr-helv.net/71/147/2016/gh-71-147-2016.pdf
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@valais2, thanks. This data shows that in controlled piste areas in Europe, avalanche fatalities have been almost eliminated. The mean has declined linearly since 1970 so that by 2010 onwards it is almost negligible.

On the other hand, non-controlled piste areas have maintained the same average fatalities per annum over the same period.

I expect there has been an increase in exposure to risk of fatalities over the period, and so the risk of off piste fatalities has been reducing, but nowhere near as much as on piste fatalities.

@jbob, I believe most of the risk off piste is caused by inexeperience and bravado of people travelling in groups. You tend not to take stupid risks on your own. However, gaining statistics on sole skiers off piste is likely to be subject to error.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Bigtipper, the pisteurs take a lot of trouble in reducing the on-piste risk.
But Off-Piste will always be a greater risk. And can not be reduced to zero.
It is a risk we all accept (or forget about).
Not all avalanche incidents involve inexperienced brovadoists.
A number of the fatalities last season involved a group with an experienced Guide.

(and an interesting 6 year bump - i wonder what made you revisit . . . )
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