Lapland
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Skiing safety in areas where snow avalanches may occur


Skiing safety and avalanches

Your skiing safety is threstened every winter becuse of small and big snow avalalanches all over Lapland. It is therefore wise to locate your ski hikes to safe areas. Ask local people about safe areas!

The most dangerous avalaches are the snow slab avalanches. With this type a whole mountain side may slip and start moving at a terrible and accelerating speed as it moves downhill.

These slab avalanches mainly slip at leeward slopes with plenty of snow. Thus it's of utmost importance to stay away from smooth leeward slopes when there is a danger of avalanches. Even small leeward slopes may set off dangerous avalanches.

For your skiing safety it is safest just to follow ridges and top of hills with little snow.

Changing weather

A period with changing weather, combined with strong winds and heavy snowfalls, is dangerous. Then the avalanche danger increases at leeward slopes. Sudden changes to higher temperatures may release avalanches.

If you're taken by an avalanche

If you suddenly find yourself in an avalanche, here are some points to remember:

  1. Get rid of your rucksack
  2. Get rid of your skiis and poles
  3. Try to swim the surface of the avalanche
  4. If you're buried by snow, try to form your body like a ball
  5. Cover your mouth and nose

When others are taken

The first few minutes are the most important ones. In this short span of time the chances of finding your friend alive is still great. Try to do these things as fast as possible:
  1. Check the possibility for another avalanche
  2. Mark the place where the person was last seen
  3. Seek systematically
  4. Register objects that you find
  5. Stab a skiing pole as deep as it goes at short intervals (not more than 75 cm)
  6. If you have company, one of you have to find help

Resources

Read more about skiing safety and avalanche precaution at this excellent Swiss site.

Where the Reindeer Roam


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