Interesting study just released in Switzerland finds that despite the large increase in off piste skiing in Switzerland over the last 30 years, the number of fatalities has been decreasing due to better equipment (wow really) and education (you mean you have to know how to use a beacon too, not just look good wearing one?). Some of the findings:
There has been a significant decrease in serious accidents involving guided groups
Guided groups also appear less frequently in statistics dropping from 40% of incidents in 1977 to 20% today.
The number of live rescues has increased. At the end of the 1970s 60% of buried victims died compared to 40% today.
Where a victim is rescued by companions the mortality has dropped from
34% to 20% compared to 88% to 70% for organized external rescue.
The biggest factor is burial time which has decreased from 150 minutes
in 1977 to 80 minutes at the start of the 1990s to 30 minutes today.
For beacon wearers, the overall mortality rate has dropped from 49% to 29%.
The widespread adoption of avalanche beacons and the improvement in
technology as well as better training accounts for much of this
Seems to beg the question, why are avalanche deaths reaching record levels in the U.S. given we have the same technology? The NY Times seemed to point the finger at "uncommon weather conditions." While that may play a part, we're going to say that the lack of avi education is the problem here in the U.S., particularly given the increase in out of bounds skiing. Resorts and outdoor companies have been promoting out of bounds/backcountry skiing heavily over the last few years, without a corresponding increase in avi education. Of course that's purely anecdotal, but anybody have a better argument other than weather or IQ level of snowmobilers?
For example, a cursory glance on BDEL's site finds one measly avalanche DVD. One dvd. No books. No links to avi courses. Maybe the DVDs should be bundled in free with every ATC binding, as well as avi course schedules. And you think you'll find avi info on any of the resort sites. Maybe "buried" behind the Starbucks menus. Anyway, enough. You get the picture. Until education becomes a major focus for resorts, snowmobile companies, and gear companies, we're going to say that avalanche fatalaties will remain at record levels here in the U.S. and Canada. But what do we know?
With all due respect, you'd be pissed too if you had seen the cinematic Hindenburg that is the "epic" Australia. Who can blame the sharks for going buck nut and attacking everything in site on the Australian beaches. Someone besides Nicole Kidman has to take some blame for this travesty:
A spate of savage shark attacks in Australia has sent a shiver through summer holidaymakers bombarded with graphic details and claims that the razor-toothed predators are increasingly targeting humans.
Three attacks on swimmers within 24 hours over Sunday and Monday -- just two weeks after a snorkeller was killed -- have fuelled a fevered debate over whether overfishing has put man on the menu.
"Humans are next in line on the food chain," veteran shark hunter Vic Hislop told commercial radio. "It will definitely get worse."
Are humans really next in line on the food chain Vic? Really. Not seals or some kind of nice ocean inverterbrate? Humans? Really, Victor? Really? And how does one get such a job as shark hunter, btw? Via AFP.