Snow and Avalanche Center 2008 Avalanche News

Training Doesn't Reduce Avalanche Risk When Skiing, Study Shows

Avalanche study has surprising results

Thu Nov. 27 2008 17:06:12
CTV Calgary

If you're planning to head to the backcountry this winter for some skiing, you may want to bring a woman with you. A study by the University of Calgary shows that being accompanied by a woman tends to reduce the risk of being involved in an avalanche. The research also found that men between the ages of 25 and 29, who are university educated, are the most at risk.

It also turns out that avalanche training may not reduce your chances of getting caught in a slide.

Albi Sole, who runs the Public Avalanche Awareness Programs at the Outdoor Centre on campus, authored the study. He asked 447 skiers about their attitudes and experiences on the backcountry slopes. "We're really looking at the psychology of people taking risk in avalanche terrain and trying to understand the differences between people and how that might affect their risk," says Sole.

Of the people involved in Sole's study, 35 had been involved in avalanches and only one had suffered serious injuries.

Young Professionals Most At Risk For Avalanche Deaths
CHQR Newsroom

A University of Calgary study buries the notion that young hot doggers are most at risk from backcountry avalanches. Researcher Albi Sole, co-ordinator of the avalanche awareness programs at the university, says people at highest risk are young professionals, aged 25 to 29.

And having avalanche training does not reduce the risk.

But Sole says his study shows the risk of being involved in an avalanche is generally overstated. He says drownings are more common. And the risks of going into the back country in Canada are about the same as being a motorist.

Log in for an Ad-free visit - Contributors can log in for advertising-free pages.
Avalanche Institute


HTML 4.01 Transitional Compliant - Validate