Last season there were significantly fewer avalanche victims in the Alps compared to the previous seasons. While there were 97 victims in the 2018/2019 season, there were 52 in the 2019/2020 season. It is a bit more difficult to say something about the total for the 2017/2018 season, because correct figures from Italy are difficult to find. The main reason for the drop in 2019/2020 was undoubtedly COVID-19, which closed all lifts in the Alps mid-March and tour skiing and splitboarding was no longer possible due to the subsequent lockdowns.
Every freerider knows that the freeride season really only starts in March. During that period, the snow cover reaches its maximum height and the weak layers that often form at the beginning of the season are now so deep in the snow cover that they can no longer be triggered by the pressure and weight of a single skier or boarder. Only then do you generally really have to look for the high alpine to ride the big lines. Another reason could be that we didn't really have many good powder days last season. And well, when you are not in the terrain it is also not possible to trigger an avalanche.
To get a little more sense of the figures, I have also put the numbers from the United States next to it. Riding powder seems to be even more in the DNA on the other side of the pond, but the design of the areas with a boundary system by definition already provides more safety (everything within the boundary is checked by skipatrol). It is striking that there is therefore no clear decrease in the US. The season lasted a bit longer there than in the Alps, but in the end the ski areas closed earlier too.
Well, what can you conclude from all of the above? Not very much, as it is quite likely that the closure of the ski areas caused the decline. Preparation is therefore always essential in minimizing the risks in the off-piste. We have said it many times, but repetition never hurts.
SLF.ch, avalanches.org, Alpinmesse, DSV Aktiv en Anena.