We talk a lot about avalanches on the Crux Collective. I’m sorry if it gets tiresome, but really, avalanches should always be at the forefront of your mind when you are in the backcountry, frontcountry, or slackcountry. It’s an important time to remember: where there is snow, there is avalanche danger.
This past week we were reminded of the ever-present avalanche danger, even in controlled areas. The Freeride World Championship made a stop in Kappl, Austria, where it came to a screeching halt after Julien Lopez was swept up in a massive avalanche. After taking a fall on his run, Julien was hiking back up the trail to retrieve his skis when he triggered the slide. Luckily, Julien had time to pull his airbag and ended up on top of the slide once it had finished.
This left many wondering: had the area been avalanche controlled? Did the patrollers do their job?
The answer to both of those questions? Yes and Yes.
The Freeride World Tour posted a video (top of the page) in response to what happened at the event.
The video does a great job explaining the pre-competition precautions all the patrollers took (including using fifteen 2.5 kilo explosives), as well as their competition day tactics – which includes 20 patrollers standing by.
This all goes to show, even in a controlled area with experienced skiers avalanches can still happen.
“Despite having the best riders in the world, the best safety conditions in the world, something can always happen.”
- Julien Lopez