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The Dangers of Avalanches for Swedes Skiing Abroad

Stay Safe Ski Bunnies: The Risks of Avalanches Abroad

Hey there mates, I just flicked through the latest from the Swedish daily and came across something that we, expats, should chat about. Especially if you’re a winter sports enthusiast. Fancy speeding down the slopes of the Alps? Please stick around and soak in what I’ve to share.

Unmasking the Alpine danger

According to TT’s 5th October issue, a whopping 80% of Swedes who’ve died in avalanche disasters during the 21st century perished abroad. Guess where the majority met their tragic ends? The Alps. Petter Palmgren, avalanche expert at Naturvårdsverket, paints it stark, stating that Swedes eager to maximize their Alpine skiing trips must note it isn’t as safe as back home. The simple truth? Spotting safer off-piste skiing is easier in Sweden than the steep, crowded hills of the Alps.

“Since the winter of 2000/01, avalanches have claimed 58 Swedish lives. Eight out of ten among these tragedies occurred overseas, mainly in the Alps, but also in Norway, Canada, Chile, and India.”

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A game of numbers

To put things in perspective, numbers highlight a bleak picture. From the winter of 2000/2001, there’s been an average of 2.5 Swedes falling victim to avalanches per season. But the past two years witnessed a chilling spike with twelve Swedish citizens succumbing to this snowy grip of death.

Safety Checklist for Ski Enthusiasts

Now, if you already have a ski trip abroad booked, fear not! It’s all about being informed and prepared. For starters, proper knowledge about avalanches isn’t needed for safe downhill fun on piste, but once you get off-piste, it’s a whole different ball game.

Palmgren insists on attending an avalanche course, and carrying avalanche gear like a shovel, beacon, and probe. These give your skiing buddies a fighting chance of finding and digging you out should a situation arise.

“In avalanches, your ski mates often have the best and perhaps the only chance of digging you out.”

Ever thought of taking a helmet along to avert the violent hit of being caught in an avalanche? That, along with some form of navigation gear, like a map, compass or GPS, are must-haves to avoid ending up on unsafe routes.

Besides, regularly updating yourself with avalanche forecasts on lavinprognoser.se (for Swedish mountains) and avalanches.org (for European mountain countries) is crucial.

One universal tip? The steeper the slope, the higher the risk of an avalanche. For safer terrains, lurk under 30 degrees of slope.

Remember, safety doesn’t kill the joy of skiing, it reassures it. Put the tips to good use, learn to read the terrain and anticipate risks – it’s almost as important as measuring the gradient before an off-piste run.

So, the next time you’re raring to go, gear up, consult your gang, stay updated on the weather, and grade the likely avalanche dangers. It’s not just about the thrill of the run, but making it safe and sound back to the après-ski bar afterwards! Share this with your fellow ski bunnies, and let’s put safety first. Happy skiing!

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