Why avalanche risks heighten in March

Statistics suggest most avalanche-related deaths happen in March

In Canada, thousands of avalanches take place annually, especially in British Columbia, Yukon, and Alberta. Of particular concern is the higher number of avalanche-related deaths in March across the country.

Avalanche Canada reports that 27 percent of avalanche deaths occur in March, noting three major factors that contribute to this statistic: a complex snowpack that’s developed during winter, a destabilized snowpack due to warming temperatures, and an increase in mountain accessibility that takes place in March.


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To help keep Canadians safe, Avalanche Canada provides tips on Avy Savvy, an online tutorial geared at backcountry beginners. The program is aimed at new users of the winter backcountry and provides a solid introduction to avalanche safety.

“It’s vital for anyone venturing into the winter backcountry to have a full appreciation of the challenges involved,” explains Gilles Valade, Avalanche Canada’s Executive Director. “Travelling in avalanche terrain demands awareness and preparation. Avy Savvy provides a great first step in avalanche safety education.”

Avy Savvy is not a substitute for taking an Avalanche Skills Training course, but it will give you a leg up when you do.

If you and your family plan on hitting the slopes this month, be sure to watch the video above for best — and potentially life-saving — practices provided by Avalanche Canada Forecaster, Colin Garritty.

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Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2021. Thumbnail image courtesy: Pixabay/Jacky73490