Articles | Volume 71, issue 2
Standard article
28 Jun 2016
Standard article |  | 28 Jun 2016

Avalanche fatalities in the European Alps: long-term trends and statistics

Frank Techel, Frédéric Jarry, Georg Kronthaler, Susanna Mitterer, Patrick Nairz, Miha Pavšek, Mauro Valt, and Gian Darms

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Cited articles

Alpine Convention: The Alps: eight countries, a single territory, available at: (last access: 21 May 2016), 2009.
Ancey, C., Gardelle, F., and Gardelle, C.: L'homme face à la neige et aux avalanches dans les temps passés, in: Guide neige et avalanche, Connaissances, pratiques, sécurité, 21–34, Edisud. Ouvrage collectif sous le patronage de l'ANENA, 2nd edn., 1998.
Ancey, C., Rapin, F., Martin, E., Coléou, C., Naaim, M., and Brunot, G.: L'avalanche de Péclerey du 9 février 1999, La Houille Blanche, 5, 45–53, 2000.
Atkins, D.: Time to change rescue attitudes for a new generation, in: Proceedings International Snow Science Workshop 2008, Whistler, Canada, 80–86, 2008.
Badoux, A., Andres, N., Techel, F., and Hegg, C.: Natural Hazard fatalities in Switzerland from 1946 to 2015, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., in preparation, 2016.
Short summary
During the last 45 years, about 100 people lost their lives in avalanches in the European Alps each year. Avalanche fatalities in settlements and on transportation corridors have considerably decreased since the 1970s. In contrast, the number of avalanche fatalities during recreational activities away from avalanche-secured terrain doubled between the 1960s and 1980s and has remained relatively stable since, despite a continuing strong increase in winter backcountry recreational activities.