Here’s what you can do to minimize the risk of avalanche accidents during your Easter holidays in Norway

Avalanche - rescue servicesPhoto: Kors Hjelpekorps / NTB
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Several avalanches occurred in Norway in recent weeks. Last week, three French men lost their lives in an avalanche in Lyngen in Troms.

Areas in Western and Northern Norway have been particularly dangerous in recent weeks. In the last 20 years, 112 people have lost their lives in avalanche accidents in Norway, and 45 of them died in the mountains in Troms, according to figures published by Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

As many Norwegians and tourists head to the mountains to make the most out of their Easter holidays, Norway Today reached out to the Hjelpekorpset’s Avalanche Group of the Norwegian Red Cross to find out how people can best prepare to minimize avalanche risk.

In an email on Wednesday, Tormod Eldholm, head of Hjelpekorpset’s Avalanche Group, shared useful and potentially life-saving advice.

Follow the avalanche warnings

“It’s important to read up on potential avalanches on varsom.no. Read the full text avalanche warning. If you plan to go mountain skiing, it may make sense to search out slightly less steep mountainsides. If you’re hiking in the North of Norway or the West of Norway, it’s best to avoid the mountainside above 30 degrees.

“Many people get more skiing pleasure by running sides at 25 degrees than by running those at 35 degrees. It is better to avoid avalanche today, and instead get the chance to come back on a skiing holiday in Norway also next year,” Eldholm told us.

He accentuated that at this time of year, the Red Cross is actively working on reaching ski tourists in order to mitigate the risks of accidents.

The Red Cross has produced an information leaflet in Norwegian, English, and French. The leaflet has a QR code that leads users to avalanche warnings from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE)’s warning service. Photo: Red Cross

Take local conditions into account

“We have experienced increasing numbers of ski tourists in Norway in recent years – especially in Troms and Northern Norway. Recently, there have been several serious accidents involving foreign ski tourists in these areas. The Red Cross wants to reduce the number of avalanche accidents in Norway. Therefore, it is important to reach out to ski tourists to mitigate the risks of accidents.

“The Norwegian Red Cross encourages ski tourists to consider final mountain ski destinations once you have arrived at the local destination and possibly change the mountain ski destinations based on local avalanche conditions,” he warned.

At the moment, there are several risks that skiers need to take into account.

Things to look out for

“The main causes of avalanches vary from season to season and from year to year. Right now, we have a persistently weak layer in many places in Troms and North Western Norway that has caused many accidents over the last two weeks. There is a layer of rhyme crystals with fresh snow on it. This unstable layer is difficult to detect and can vary widely within small areas.

“Therefore, it is important to take into account that it is very difficult to assess where it is safe and where avalanches can occur. A persistent weak layer may make the slabs very sensitive and easily triggered. Stabilization of the slabs may be very slow,” Eldholm concluded.

Robin-Ivan Capar is a contributor and editor at Norway Today.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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