Technical information, news, research, and opinion on avalanches, snow safety, and winter backcountry travel.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Boy Who Drowned

kominn heim—saeglopur

NOTE: Winter backcountry travel is often a strong focus of avalanche safety. There are many important aspects of avalanche safety at the national and regional levels as well. This post discusses avalanches at the national level, in both the first and third worlds, and also contains links to very personal stories of avalanche involvement. I'll let you decide which is more tragic: national failure or individual failure.

Avalanches As Natural Disasters
The Avalanche Handbook briefly discusses Ian Burton's "richer is better" rule of thumb. This rule applies to natural disasters, and it implies that wealthier societies are better equipped to protect themselves from the wrath of mother nature.

With respect to avalanches, this rule of thumb does not apply in the Western world because many people who choose to expose themselves to avalanches, such as helicopter skiers and backcountry skiers, can only do so because they have sufficient resources.

Avalanches Worldwide
In the third world, poorer is definitely worse. The following articles highlight the difference between avalanches in the first world and avalanches in the third world. It's an eclectic mix of expensive Western engineering, helicopter skiing, and grinding third-world poverty.
Are you spending your hard-earned money to access avalanche terrain? What's your desired rate of return?

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