The number of avalanche deaths in Europe is at its highest for five years. The problem goes back to the snow drought: In many European resorts nothing really falls until January.
When new snow eventually arrived – as it did – it sits precariously on top of this weak layer, which can collapse at any time, sending vast slabs of snow crashing down thus causing an avalanche.
At the beginning of February I stood near the summit of La Saulire in France, peering down a very steep couloir. I’d skied it many times in previous years as we did several seasons in the Three Valleys. For what seemed like an age I debated, looking over the edge to try to see what the snow was like, in the end I bottled it as thoughts of Michael Schumacher came into my mind.
Some of us feel the need to get that extra adrenalin rush, but we should stop and think of the consequences, and spare a thought for the people who may have to come and rescue us if an avalanche occurs, not to mention family back home.
Also remember that the risk level of 3 is NOT average: in reality it means critically dangerous. You can still go off piste but select a good route and wear a beeper, also have some basic safety equipment in a rucksack. Simply Hike have some good general advice on there ski page.
My firm belief is the best way to survive an avalanche is not to get caught in one in the first place. Safety is very important to us at Pinnacle Walking Holidays, we must always treat the mountains with respect, they will be around next year.