Skiing is an enjoyable experience that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. But along with this pastime are some risks that could change an exciting hobby into a nightmarish event.
One particular event that you should try to avoid and be prepared for is an avalanche. It can happen at any time, and if you’re at its path, you should know what to do to survive.
Don’t try to outrun it
If you see an avalanche bearing down on you, don’t even try to outrun it because you won’t be able to. Outrunning an avalanche only happens in the movies, so your best chance to survive this disaster is to move perpendicular to it. Try to get as far away from the middle of that avalanche as possible.
Now, if the avalanche starts at your feet, do your best to jump upslope. This way, you’ll be avoiding the fracture line, and you won’t get caught up with the cascading snow. As soon as you get out of the middle of harm’s way, you need to keep yourself rooted.
Grab onto something
There’s no telling how big the avalanche is going to be. Maybe you were able to avoid the fracture line when it started to fall beneath your feet, but you might have unsettled the snow above you, which is now crashing towards you.
To improve your chances of surviving, grab onto something strong to keep you in place. Look for a tree branch or a rock, and grab onto it as hard as you can. If the crashing snow is too strong, and you get uprooted, try to “swim” with the flow so that you’ll stay above the avalanche.
Breathe and signal
If you happen to get buried under all that snow, you should create some room to breathe. So, if you see that you’re about to be buried by an avalanche, cup your mouth with your hands to give it some space to breathe.
Taking in large gulps of air will also help you survive under all that snow. It will help your lungs expand and give you enough space to breathe.
You should also keep in mind to give your rescuers all the things they need to find you. That means you should wear something bright that can be seen for miles. There may be a chance that you’ll be half-buried.
You can wear an Arcteryx vest, for one. This brand has lots of colorful attires that can be seen for miles. In addition to that, make sure that your overall outfit can easily be seen so that means your shoes, helmet and gloves sport bright colors.
Most importantly, you should stay calm and not panic. Panicking will quicken your breathing, making it harder for you to breathe. Also, if you panic, you might find the urge to move and try to dig yourself out of the snow. This could loosen the snow even more and bury you even more. Try to sit tight and wait for the rescuers to come for you.
We never know when avalanches can happen. But as long as you know what to do in the event that an avalanche occurs, you’ll be able to survive it. Even the smallest detail might be able to save your life.