MINT Snowboarding since 2006. Award winning snowboard school

Avalanche Facts and Tips



Now here at MINT we don’t want to be known as a ‘Debbie Downer’ but it’s just a fact that fun can sometimes come at a price and if you’ve ever been snowboarding you know that can come in the form of a sprained wrist or a shocking hangover from the local brew…  Unfortunately it can also come from the very mountains we are enjoying every day on our holiday or season.  We figure that to be armed with the knowledge is a much better way of continuing to have fun in the mountains so read on for some interesting facts and tips!

Did you know:

  • Avalanches kill more than 150 people worldwide every year
  • Avalanches are not triggered by noise as the movies would have us believe
  • 4 factors contribute to an avalanche;  a steep slope, a weak layer in the snow, the snow cover and a trigger
  • The trigger is normally the weight of you or a friend
  • The slope needs to be 30 degrees or above to be prone to avalanche
  • Avalanche kit doesn’t just mean a transceiver, you also need a shovel, a probe and the know how!
  • There are 3 types of Avalanche;  Powder, Wet Snow and Slab.  Slab avalanches are the most common and reach between 60 and 80 mph
  • Avalanche risk is highest 24 hours after a snowfall of 12 inches or more
European Avalanche Hazard Scale

European Avalanche Hazard Scale

We all know it’s fun to ride powder but here are some simple rules to follow to try to stay safe!

  • Never go off piste alone
  • Heed warning signs in avalanche prone areas (check the warning signs situated by lifts and also on the sides of the piste)
  • Stay alert in backcountry areas
  • Travel single file, not side by side in the backcountry
  • Always carry safety equipment (Transceiver, shovel and probe)
  • Check your transceivers battery and signals before you set off

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If you think you would like to learn more then check out our options on Backcountry courses and Splitboarding or maybe book yourself a private lesson to get to grips with Avalanche Safety and Awareness!

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