147 avalanche deaths in the Alps
We’re starting this week’s mountain news roundup in the Alps, where PlanetSki reports that 147 people died in avalanches this past winter. It may sound like a high number compared to the totals in Colorado and the U.S. but it’s fairly close to average for a European winter. The biggest number of avalanche deaths for the season, 37, well above the average annual death toll of 26. In Switzerland, 28 people died in avalanches. One trend that bears watching is the increased number of avalanche deaths among ski professionals. An unusual number of guides and rescue workers were caught in slides in the Alps this winter, according to PlanetSki. Get more details here.
100 years of yodeling
On a happier Alpine note, PlanetSki is also reporting that the Swiss yodeling Association is celebrating its centennial this year. There will be yodeling festivals and competitions, no doubt, and while the very thought of yodeling is annoying to some people, to others, it’s an indispensable part of Alpine folklore. And if the traditional version of yodeling doesn’t do it for you, the Swiss band Sonalp incorporates an updated brand of the ululating vocalization in its World Music repertoire. Check out the PlanetSki story here and watch this YouTube video for some Swiss folk-punk, which includes Alphorns being played like didgeridoos.
The latest reports are in and they show that 91 percent of Austria’s glaciers retreated last year, with some of them receding as much as 150 feet. Some of the biggest shrinkages occurred in the Tyrolean mountains, where glaciers are an iconic part of the cultural landscape. Austrians have taken climate change very seriously for quite a while, knowing that some their essential cultural fabric is based on a connection with the mountains. Rising summer temperatures are cited as the main cause for the glacier retreat. Read more …
Much more, including news about skiing in Bulgaria and dwindling moose populations in Jackson Hole, after the break … (more…)
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