Winter holidaymakers warned: already 15 deaths from avalanches

Winter holidaymakers warned: already 15 deaths from avalanches
© Belga

Fifteen people have already been killed in avalanches this winter, Touring stated on Wednesday as it warned skiers and snowboarders of the dangers linked to holidays in the snow.

Every year, Touring notes that a growing number of skiers and snowboarders ski off-piste without being prepared.

“There are many reasons: overcrowded slopes, the challenge of adventure and slopes covered with fresh, undisturbed snow. They are nonetheless running an enormous risk (…). While many aspects of safety and risk assessments on the slopes are taken into account (…), these aspects are completely absent off-piste,” the organisation, which still insures against off-piste accidents provided holidaymakers are accompanied by an official guide and that he/she has been informed about them.

Some 3,600 calls were received by Touring during the spring half-term holiday last year. A total of 1,178 interventions on the ground and 104 repatriations were recorded, as well as an increase of 7% in medical assistance.

With the approach of the spring half-term holidays, the organisation points out the importance of wearing helmets. The danger of sustaining a skull fracture practising winter sports effectively decreases by 60% when a helmet is worn. “A collision at 30 km/h is comparable to a fall from 3.5 metres; at 50 km/h, the impact is the equivalent of a fall from nearly 10 metres,” Touring notes.

And for lovers of off-piste skiing, the organisation highly recommends taking all necessary equipment with you, notably an avalanche victims detector (DVA).

The Brussels Times

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