UKC

Seven dead

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 cdpej 08 May 2021
 Trangia 08 May 2021
In reply to cdpej:

Grim news. This last season must be one of the quietest ever in terms of avalanche deaths amongst hikers, mountaineers and skiers due to the lockdowns keeping people away from the mountains?

1
 cdpej 08 May 2021
In reply to Trangia:

no doesn't look like it.  35 dead in France and 27 in Switzerland I think.  Both are well above long term averages.  Switzerland hasn't had any lock down to speak of this winter (lifts have stayed open).  Apart from a curfew and closed lifts France didn't have any significant restrictions until the 10km travel limit which was introduced a few weeks ago (and is now lifted).  

 wbo2 08 May 2021
In reply to Trangia: no British people so not really  in the UK news 

4
 john arran 08 May 2021
In reply to cdpej:

> Apart from a curfew and closed lifts France didn't have any significant restrictions until the 10km travel limit which was introduced a few weeks ago (and is now lifted).  

That could hardly be further from the truth. The only lifts I know of that have been operating at all this winter were for ski-school clients and guides only.

2
 Doug 09 May 2021
In reply to cdpej:

There have been reports of accidents, often fatal, about once a week in my local paper (https://www.ledauphine.com/ ). This might be of interest  - https://www.ledauphine.com/societe/2021/05/07/pourquoi-le-risque-d-avalanche-est-eleve-ce-week-end-dans-les-hautes-alpes-et-en-isere

 cdpej 09 May 2021
In reply to john arran:

Hi John, In the Chamonix valley this winter neither IFMGA guides nor ski school clients could use the lifts.  Some lifts were running for "instructional" courses here so ENSA ski instructor courses and various gendarmes and the pompiers.  But that was it.  The skyway in Courmayeur did open briefly and the lifts stayed open in Switzerland. In Combloux people were using a bus to do laps when there was lots of snow low down. But lots of touring got done.   How was it where you are?

 john arran 09 May 2021
In reply to cdpej:

In Ariège, the shops ran out of most snowshoes and touring gear by about mid-December! I don't actually know how much the lifts were used, as they were clearly closed to recreational skiers so not of interest, and none of our gîte guests reported any piste skiing options. Gîte bookings were actually reasonably good in February, I think because people were less concerned about being based near the bottom of the lifts.

I was actually only deducing my comment about guides and clients from a brief foray to the Alps, where I was surprised to see any lifts running at all, and I was told it was just for instruction. Makes sense that it would be in your more restricted professional sense rather than more general recreational tuition.

 Doug 09 May 2021
In reply to john arran:

My local ski station had one, sometimes two, very short lifts running just for classes for kids run by the local ESF for part of the season. I think that they could have also run a lift for race training but didn't. They also used ponies from the local riding school to drag kids up hill for their lessons early season when the lifts were shut. This proved so popular they kept the ponies even when the beginner lifts opened.

But lots of folk on touring skis taking advantage of the pistes and the local XC areas had there busiest season ever.

 cdpej 09 May 2021
In reply to Doug:

its always interesting to speculate on what the long term permanent changes from the pandemic might be.  I suspect it will accelerate the development of dedicated, marked uphill tracks away from downhill pistes to cater for all these new tourers.  Who knows maybe there will be a leg powered only resort somewhere. 

In reply to cdpej:

I am sure I read there is a resort in America that has no lifts, it's all touring I think, and the selling point is it's patrolled and they blast lake a normal resort.

Most of the resorts near me have touring tracks in places so you can skin up and ski down the piste.

Edit here it is https://bluebirdbackcountry.com/

Post edited at 14:23
 John2 09 May 2021
In reply to ecrinscollective:

'I am sure I read there is a resort in America that has no lifts'

Bluebird Backcountry.

 George Ormerod 09 May 2021
In reply to Trangia:

> Grim news. This last season must be one of the quietest ever in terms of avalanche deaths amongst hikers, mountaineers and skiers due to the lockdowns keeping people away from the mountains?

About 30% higher than the last few years average in the US.  I suspect more people getting out for touring, but I could be wrong:

https://avalanche.org/avalanche-accidents/

In Canada 20-21 was half (10), roughly, of 19-20.  The sense I get is that people were getting out less / being more conservative here due to the restrictions.

In reply to cdpej:

My outlaws tell me it was worse in Germany - because all the lifts were closed everyone went out and bought touring gear or snowshoes and consequently got themselves into trouble off-piste. Bergwacht teams were very busy.

 yorkshireman 10 May 2021
In reply to cdpej:

> Apart from a curfew and closed lifts France didn't have any significant restrictions until the 10km travel limit which was introduced a few weeks ago (and is now lifted).  

Risky mountain behaviour (parapenting, ski touring etc) was variously banned or discouraged during the first lockdown. This season my local resorts only had lifts running for the pro teams for training as competitive athletes/coaches had exceptions.

One of the XC ski areas near to me (Villard-de-Lans) saw a 400% rise in skiers based on last year according to a recent media report.

Anecdotally, the car park at the ski area near me closest to Grenoble (Lans-en-Vercors) was usually more full than when skiing was allowed as people suffering lockdown fever drove up from town to go snow-shoeing/sledging etc.

Back to the OP - it was clear to everyone that the avalanche conditions where poor and this was made clear on Friday through official channels - we'd had a long sustained period of warm weather, followed by heavy snow, then about 10 days of continuous rain (now we've got 75kph winds!).

I noticed on my Instagram and Strava feed that a few high profile people were out skiing in those conditions which probably doesn't help many people's perception of the risk when they see that kind of activity.


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