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Off-piste trips trigger more avalanche accidents

Published fredag 28 februari 2014 kl 16.13
Skiers waiting to hit the slopes. Photo: Lise/Andrarums IF

More Swedes are dying in avalanches as they take bigger risks on the slopes. Last winter, roughly 40 people were injured and seven died, double the number of deaths from the previous year. 

The cause of the increase in avalanche accidents is that off-slope and extreme skiing trends have become much more popular, said the Mountain Safety Council's Per-Olof Wikberg to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Instead of traveling down maintained slopes, skiers and snowboarders are heading out on untouched snow, often high up near the mountaintops where the ski lifts don't reach, on a so-called "peak tour."

"It is fantastic off the slopes and those that try it often get hooked. Most often it goes well but it can sometimes end quite badly," Wikberg said.

This is the time of the year when Swedes take their winter vacations and also when most of these avalanche accidents happen. Since 2001, more than 30 Swedes, most of them men, have died in avalanches in Sweden and abroad.

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