Experts warn of “explosive” avalanche risk

Experts are voicing their concerns as thousand of Brits prepare to descend on the Alps for their half-term ski holiday.

The exceptionally icy base – caused by the poor start to the season – means the snowpack is extraordinarily unstable, with more heavy snow expected this weekend.

Those heading to the Alps this weekend for the most popular period of the season should think very carefully before venturing off-piste, being sure to get expert advice and obey warning signs.

With a full ten weeks of the season left to run, the number of avalanche deaths in Europe is already at its highest for five years.
What’s more, nearly all the 75 deaths, 44 of them in France and Switzerland, have occurred since New Year. At least 20 others have been rescued alive.

Warnings that were 4/4 or even 5/5 have now been scaled back to 3/5 as the last snowfall begins to settle and the sun has come out – although some may rise again at the weekend as more heavy snow arrives.
This can lead many to become complacent, but the danger is still marked as ‘considerable’.

Increasingly, it seems to make sense to carry this in an ABS backpack. In the event of an avalanche, you pull a trigger that inflates a balloon designed to keep you on the surface of the slide. These pieces of kit are expensive and because most are powered by an inert gas canister, carrying them on international flights presents a bureaucratic problem.

There are several sports shops in Morzine and Les Gets that hire out ABS bags and all other off piste gear that you will need.

If you’re planning on heading off piste, please be vigilant!

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