This year there were news reports of many avalanche fatalities, even before the ski, snowboard and snowmobile season began. There are both natural, physical triggers, as well as human triggers, which can cause an avalanche. But there are ways to be prepared.Get the facts:.Once the victim has been completely buried, there is only a one in three chance of survival.
Avalanches are often triggered by a person or group of persons exploring the backcountry.Last year, almost half of the fatal avalanches in North America were accounted for by the snowmobile category alone.The survival rate drops to 50% after the first 20 minutes.Should this mean you shouldn't enjoy the winter snow and take backcountry trips in the mountains? No, but there are some basic guidelines to follow that could save your life.First, understand that an avalanche is unpredictable, but there are certain conditions that can make an avalanche more likely to occur. A long period of cold and clear weather can weaken the snowpack.
This can set up a situation where an avalanche is easily triggered.It is hard to get a sense of the layering of the snowpack, but you can begin to "feel" the consistency of the snow. When there is stiffness or a styro-foam texture of the snowcover are significant. Sounds can be your biggest clue.
Listen for hollow sounds, cracking, or collapsing sounds around you. Get a feel for snow stability and when you're unsure, try to stick to flatter and more open terrain. Consider the snowpack before crossing under a place where an avalanche may be a risk.
Look for an alternative route.There are even courses taught by avalanche professionals to lessen the probability that you may get caught in one. There are new probes available as safety tools, and high-tech beacons, which can send distress signals, these are handy to have?but do very little good if you don't have a shovel as well..Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, health, safety and home decor.
Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on snowmobiling and other sports visit Avalanche Safety.
By: Anne Clarke