There have been several fatal avalanche accidents in the Alps this season already, despite the restrictions or possibly in some cases, because of the restrictions. In the aftermath of these tragic events, the victims are sometimes referred to as ‘unlucky’. Yet many of the victims are also very experienced guides or off-piste enthusiasts with a lot of training. Should they have known better?

Henry’s Avalanche Talk (HAT) founder and avalanche expert Henry Schniewind and Rob Stewart of Ski Press, will speak with Chris Radford of HAT to discuss the recent events and what we can learn from them.

In particular, we will explore how the ‘familiarity heuristic’ can lead us to misjudge the risks. Henry wrote about this here: We trust our intuitions even when they are wrong.

There will also be an update on current conditions and the likely risks ahead, given there is still more snow to come in the current forecast for much of the Alps.

Henry Schniewind, said:

“We’ve seen a lot of avalanche accidents over the past couple of weeks with apparently 11 people dying in 11 days in Switzerland according to several sources, plus several fatal accidents in Savoie, France, where I live. I’ve heard of dozens of very close calls – ‘near misses’ too. While this is not unprecedented during the middle of a busy winter with a persistent unstable snowpack and moderate snowfalls coming down on top of the weak layer or layers, a lot of people are asking questions about why this is happening now, especially when there’s a lot less skiers out there…and many of the victims are experienced, or even professional. We will aim to address this and answer some of the questions in our webinar.”

Questions can be submitted in advance to Chris Radford (chris@henrysavalanchetalk.com) or put to the panel during the webinar.

Further webinar information is available online.

Click to register for the webinar.

  • Date: Wednesday January 27
  • Time: 17.30 GMT
  • Platform: Zoom

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