Significantly fewer avalanche deaths in the Alps last season

Significantly fewer avalanche deaths in the Alps last season

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.

Number of avalanche victims in the Alps by country

Number of avalanche victims in the Alps per season

Freeride season

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.


  • There is especially a large decrease in Austria and Switzerland
  • The decline is much smaller in France and Italy
  • Germany had no avalanche victims at all last season

Number of avalanche victims in the USA per season

Difference with the USA

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.


  • There were about as many victims from avalanches in the United States among snowmobilers and snowshoers as there were among skiers and boarders.
  • Of the total of 37 avalanche victims in the last three seasons, 6 died in inbound avalanches.

Total overview avalanche victims


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.

  • Make sure you have the right knowledge. For example at the Mountain Academy.
  • Make sure you have the right gear (beacon, shovel and probe) and know how to use them
  • Never go out alone and make sure that the people in your group also have the right gear (and knowledge) and know how to use it
  • No idea? Get out there with a certified ski / snowboard / mountain guide!

Sources,, Alpinmesse, DSV Aktiv en Anena.

was born with maps of ski areas in the cradle and has visited almost all of them. His great passion is freeriding.


lcdiezAuthor25 November 2020 · 14:11

Atomic mountain academy doesn’t work any more…

Never miss a PowderAlert!

Get updates on the latest news, PowderAlerts and more!