77 people killed by avalanches in season 15/16


By Haas on 10 November 2016 · 0

77 people were killed by avalanches in the Alps during the winter of 2015-2016. A lot of tour skiers passed away, but it's also notable that there was an increase in the number of mountaineers killed by avalanches. We'll focus on snow safety in SNOWvember in a number of articles. Simply because we want you to have more knowlegde and awareness about riding in the backcountry.

Winter 2015-2016 started late

A single dump came down in November, but winter 2015-2016 started late. The Alps got hammered on the 3rd of January 2016 and there instantly were lots of accidents involving avalanches. Just like in September and October there were some mountaineers involved, but 'normal' freeriders and tour skiers followed fast.

Monthly victims during winter 2015-2016
Monthly victims during winter 2015-2016

Striking number of tour skiers

As many as 64.9% of the victims were tour skiers on their way in the mountains. That are 50 of the 77 victims who ventured into the backcountry with their skins.

Lots of tour skiers
Lots of tour skiers

Tour skiers always were on top of the charts, but there were more freeriders involved in deadly avalanche accidents in the Alps during winter 2012/2013 and winter 2013/2014. After the seasons 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 two out of three avalanche victims were tour skiers again.

France remains the country with the most victims

France has been the number one country for years when it comes to avalanche victims.

Number of victims per country the last couple of years
Number of victims per country the last couple of years

That was no different last winter although the statistics require some explanation. The statistics for France are distorted a bit because of the 26 victims, no less than 9 victims were mountaineers. That's a whopping 35%. Now there are statisticians that think that mountaineers shouldn't be included in this list, but we think see. The dividing line between mountaineering and ski-mountaineering is diluting in recent years, while the alpine risks remain the same.

Number of victims per country during season 2015-2016
Number of victims per country during season 2015-2016


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