The most dangerous spot to be in an avalanche is the centre of it. When there are signs of an avalanche, it is important that you move sideways to give yourself the best of chances of avoiding being caught in the middle of one.
Whether the avalanche starts above or beneath you, you don’t want to be static so move as you’re more than likely to get caught and end up in the middle of the avalanche.
Most of the avalanches that occur when you are skiing or snowboarding will be caused by yourself.
Should this happen, the snow will begin to fall beneath you. You’ll want to quickly jump upslope to avoid getting caught.
An Avalanche Transceiver is the tool that will save your life if you get caught in an avalanche situation. Transceivers transmit a radio frequency to a receiver or another transceiver, so rescuers can pinpoint your exact location and start digging you out as quickly and safely as possible.
It’ll only weigh you down further into the avalanche so you need to make yourself as light as possible so you can get to the surface as quickly as possible.
While you may not be able to do this in a bigger, more powerful avalanche, you should grab onto something for the smaller, less powerful avalanches as it can save your life, like a rock or a tree .
Once you have found yourself being dragged down the mountain by large amounts of snow, start swimming as hard as you can in the direction of the snow to try and stay afloat and to avoid getting buried deep in the snow once it settles.
No one can hear you scream in an avalanche either, snow can easily force itself into your mouth, which stops you from being able to breathe.
Creating an air pocket will give you space to breathe once the snow has settled. Cupping your hand over your mouth whilst caught in an avalanche will create an air pocket.
You can also expand your chest out by filling your lungs with air which will give you more space to breathe.
If you had used the air pocket strategy then you have made it easier to do this step. Once you come to a stop, take several big, deep breaths to allow your lungs to fully inflate and deflate.
When you’re caught in an avalanche, you know it is a life or death situation, so your natural instinct would be to panic. If you are able to keep your head together, you have a better chance of surviving.
Victims would normally have a 15-minute window where they can breathe under the snow should they have space. Panicking will cause your breaths to be faster, therefore you have less survival time.
If you have your transceiver or a small band-aid size Recco detector, rescuers are more than likely to be working on getting you out of there.
Never hit the slopes without any safety essentials. you should always carry the following Avalanche Safety Kit to reduce the risk of being buried :
Avalanches happen frequently enough that many organizations provide intensive training courses to coach skiers and snowboarders on how to avoid avalanches, save themselves, and rescue each other. If you’re travelling to avalanche country, it’s worth taking a course.
It’s important to stay safe and have the correct training when skiing or snowboarding off-piste please check out further blogs below :
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