Off Piste Versus Backcountry

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In issue 101 of Neige et Avalanches there is an analysis of the accidents that occurred in the 13 years to 2001-2002. Without knowing the exact numbers of backcountry and off-piste skiers it is difficult to interpret some of the statistics. One thing is clear, both branches of skiing have increased over the period studied. The greater increase has probably been in lift served off-piste skiing with snowboards and wide skis making unprepared terrain accessible to more and more skiers.

The study found that accidents involving backcountry skiers tended to be more serious (more people caught) but the chances of survival were greater, especially considering the distance rescue services had to travel to reach the scene. This was attributed to better training amongst backcountry skiers including the use of avalanche transceivers and associated rescue equipment.

Categories: Snow Safety