If you want to ski in the powder snow you have to stick to some rules
On principle: All the avalanches are dangerous to life for every buried person, also small floe avalanches. You often cannot see where avalanches may start. And unfortunately most people undervalue the power of an avalanche.
Try everything that you don’t come into an avalanche. YOU ENDANGER NOT ONLY YOUR LIFE BUT THE LIFE OF OTHERS TOO!
By the way: The open ski slopes are absolutely safety!
Nevertheless, if you want to enjoy the fresh powder snow, no matter if you are a freerider, snowboarder, skitourer or snow-shoe hiker, you have to stick to some rules:
• Mind the avalanche alert.
• Plan your tours according weather and avalanche alert.
• NEVER ski in the powder snow (even if the alert is not red) without the right equipment (avalanche transceiver, shovel, avalanche probe, mobile phone with battery). Everybody of the group should have passed avalanche training with its own equipment in advance.
• Check the avalanche transceivers before you start if they function.
• If you hike up on steep hillsides leave 10 meters between every person.
• ALWAYS ski down steep hillside alone, in hillsides under 35 degrees you leave at least 30 meters distance.
• Don’t go into hillsides over 35 degrees if the alert is over 3.
If there is in spite of all an avalanche, take care of following (people who are not in the avalanche):• If there are more people over the avalanche ONE has to co-ordinate everything.
• Take an emergency call (140 mountain rescue service, 144 rescue centre, 112 international emergency call). If you haven’t a mobile phone, one should ski into the valley and take the emergency call from there.
• Look if you can see something (ski, shoe…)
• Put all the avalanche transceiver to SEEK, otherwise you will disturb yourself.
• Scan the avalanche deposit from the bottom to the top, if possible without skis. If you are alone you go loops, it means 15 m from one border to 15 m before the other border, than 30 m up and the same in the other direction. If you have more avalanche transceivers you go from the bottom up in a line with a distance of 30 m between the seekers.
• If you get a signal you have to “cross” the transceiver. It means: Where you get the signal loudest you make a line, further you seek along the line and where the signal is loudest there is the other transceiver.
• With the avalanche probe you can easily check if there is person under the snow. Tip: Try it in advance!
• Shovel with all the power you have. Don’t use skis and snowboards, you just waste your time with them.
• Ideally there is a medical here otherwise you have to reanimate the person.
If you are in the avalanche, check following:• Just some get out of the danger area. You have to react immediately and ski straight. If you stay you will get in the avalanche. Really good skiing skills as well as secure skiing under pressure und with high speed are necessary.
• If you fall down: Go out of the binding, leave binding straps and sticks. Fight against the avalanche! Try to stay over the snow.
• If the avalanche gets slower give your hands in front of your mouth and make a hole where you can breathe.
• Save energy. If you are not able to come out of the snow at the first try, don’t try again – you just waste your breathable air.
• Stay calm.
• Scream as loud as you can if you know that the rescuer is over you.
• In the first 35 minutes you fight against suffocation (if you are not hurt by trees or stones).
• Than you may get undercooled. If you get rescued undercooled your rescuer have to take care that the cold blood and the warm blood from the heart, lungs, head and stomach don’t mix together. Undercooled people are in danger of life still if they are in hospital.
You have the most chances to survive if one of your colleagues puts you out of the avalanche. Every minute is value. Simulate such situations and try your equipment before you go into the powder snow!
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