INFOGRAPH: 8 Interesting Facts About Avalanches

Matias Ricci | | AvalancheAvalanche
stock photo of an avalanche in Chamonix, France.
stock photo of an avalanche in Chamonix, France.

After a week with lots of snow -and lots of avalanches- it is good to remind ourselves about the risks that skiing and being at the mountains involve, and more importantly, try to minimize them as much as we can.

The following graphs are only a couple of interesting facts about avalanches that are good to know, but won’t save our lives.

stock photo of avalanche in Cerro Catedral, Argentina
stock photo of avalanche in Cerro Catedral, Argentina

There is only one way to be prepared for avalanches, and it consists in education, a lot of practice, proper equipment and excellent partners.

Having said this, lets give a look at some pretty interesting facts about avalanches:

#1 AVALANCHE FATALITIES BY GENDER

More than 90% of avalanche victims are men. // source: "Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain" by Bruce Tremper
US avalanche fatalities by gender. // source: “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

#2 AVALANCHE FATALITIES BY AGE

Avalanche victims by age. // source:
US avalanche fatlities by age (1996-2006) // source: “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

#3 AVALANCHE FATALITIES BY ACTIVITY

US Avalanche fatalities by activity (1997-2007) // source: "Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain" by Bruce Tremper
US avalanche fatalities by activity (1997-2007) // source: “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

#4 WHO TRIGGERS THE AVALANCHE?

This graph shows who is responsible of triggering the avalanches where accidents occur. // source:
This graph shows who is responsible of triggering the avalanches where accidents occur. // source: “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

#5 RECOVERED ALIVE vs TIME 

Avalanche Survival vs. Burial Time (422 total avalanche victims buried. Information may change according to the country and region). //
Avalanche Survival vs. Burial Time (422 total avalanche victims buried. Information may change according to the country and region). // source: “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

#6 SLOPE ANGLE OF THE START ZONE

Slope angle of start zone of large slab avalanches// source: "Backcountry Avalanche Awareness" by Bruce Jamieson
Slope angle of start zone of large slab avalanches// source: “Backcountry Avalanche Awareness” by Bruce Jamieson

#7 BEACON USE AMONG FATALITIES

US Beacon use among fatalities (2000-2007) // source: "Backcountry Avalanche Awareness" by Bruce Jamieson
US Beacon use among fatalities (2000-2007) // source: “Backcountry Avalanche Awareness” by Bruce Jamieson

#8 AVALANCHE FATALITIES BY DANGER LEVEL

Avalanche victims per danger level for persons caught while engaging in backcountry or off-piste activities, or in buildings or on transportation routes (accidents between 1997/98 and 2015/16) // source: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Avalanche victims per danger level for persons caught while engaging in backcountry or off-piste activities, or in buildings or on transportation routes (accidents between 1997/98 and 2015/16) // source: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF

REMEMBER: If you are skiing in the backcountry, always carry a beacon, shovel and prove, and never go alone. But also, get yourself avalanche education and lots, lots of practice.

Sources of Information: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, “Backcountry Avalanche Awareness” by Bruce Jamieson, “Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain” by Bruce Tremper

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