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Off-piste skiers alerted to avalanche danger

Off-piste snowboarding is growing in popularity Keystone Archive

A new campaign has been launched to alert off-piste skiers and snowboarders to the risk of avalanches. Video clips highlighting the dangers and informing skiers of the current likelihood of avalanches are to be shown at selected resorts.

The video and accompanying brochures are the work of the accident insurance company, Suva, and the Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos.

Twenty-five people die in Switzerland every winter while skiing or snowboarding off-piste. According to Suva, at least 50 per cent of victims were unaware of the prevailing avalanche conditions before setting off.

“The aim is to pass on the most important information to off-piste skiers and snowboarders,” campaign leader Edith Müller said on Wednesday at the launch of the initiative in Andermatt.

She said the film would alert skiers to the different grades of avalanche risk, and inform them about how they should act.

According to the campaign organisers, snowboarding has become increasingly popular in Switzerland in the last two years, but the dangers are rarely mentioned.

They say that anyone leaving a marked piste is running an increased risk of triggering a snowslide.

The video will be displayed on giant screens in Sion, Verbier and Leysin, as well as seven resorts in German-speaking Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR