We've all seen the cartoons. A scimpy scallywag decides to sing a song and abracadabra - down comes enough snow to bury the pyramids.

Of course, half the fun of hitting the mountains is in letting off steam - you don't come here to go and hide away in a cave (unless you're a troglodyte or your name's Gollum). But if you're out and about, remembering a few basic safety precautions is paramount. The bald facts of the matter remain that there are accidents every year. So when it comes to the ancient threat of the avalanche, here are a few basic tips.

First things first. If you're about to go out, ask a local what their thoughts are on the conditions. Many families have lived here for centuries so they know a thing or two about what's what. (We should add here that this doesn't stop the odd fellow from falling asleep in the snow after drinking too much on a Friday night.... so while we remember, never take a nap in the snow, no matter how good the vodka!)

Here are some more basic avalanche precautions:

Naturally enough, all areas above the woodland are the most high risk places.

And generally speaking, if snow is falling especially heavily, there's always a risk of a spontaneous avalanche.

Likewise, if the temperature rises unexpectedly whilst the sun is shining on a steep snowy slope, there's a high risk.

When things get really dicey, there are often official avalanche alerts, in which case all access to the mountains is forbidden.

Warming Signs

If snow appears to collapse in a broad area around you

Winds are piling up disproportionate amounts of snow on certain slopes

If you see any evidence of recent collapses of snow

Finally there are the basic no nos. Don't do Tarzan impressions or generally make a racket up high in the slopes. And don't climb on snow-overhangs.

After all that, we don't want to unnecessarily worry you. Remember, there are alaways Tatra official Mountain Guides who are on hand to put you in the picture and provide you with assistance.


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Ogrodegorki from Poland Reply Jul 14th, 2011

Those avalanche precautions are very good.But mostly think more than twice before skiing in fresh snow down the hill, as you may not only risk yours but also other people's life.It is like safety on the road but not too many people think that theid bad endeavour may carry out somes risk to others.Thank for the warning Zakopane-life.Stall of Ogrodygorskie(26 very comfy apartments in Zakopane)

Gerald from United States Reply May 23rd, 2010

good job zakopane

sanyo from United States Reply Sep 29th, 2009

use less!!!!!!!!!!

from United Kingdom Reply Jun 14th, 2009

helped lots for poster ta!

Maddy from Canada Reply Feb 11th, 2009

Needs to have much more information

kid project from United States Reply Feb 1st, 2009

there's some information but not much. only part of it i will use.

Istvan from Hungary Reply Dec 29th, 2008

Ok here's a little info, read it, than take an avalanche safety course, oh and buy all the necessary equipment. wwwdotfsavalanchedotorg

marlow from The Bahamas Reply Dec 18th, 2008

boring doesn't tell you anything

kurt from Australia Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

u really need to add here NEVER TO GO ALONE IN THE BACKCOUNTRY!!

mr.pie from United States Reply Nov 23rd, 2008

Helpful for my school project!

Gilbert Corbiere from Canada Reply Nov 5th, 2008


moz from Australia Reply Oct 31st, 2008


Random kid from United States Reply May 5th, 2008

Great for my school project!

lala from Algeria Reply Mar 27th, 2008

project too!

Amy from United States Reply Mar 5th, 2008

uLot need to put more specific avalanches on coz i reaallliii need it for a project Pleaaseee! xox

callum from Canada Reply Jan 29th, 2008

I need info for a project

nate h from United States Reply Nov 20th, 2007

is ther a solution for avalanches cause i need one for a project and maybe some info if u could please

rick from Australia Reply Nov 7th, 2007

when and were was the last avalanche and what time it struck????

taylor from United States Reply Oct 25th, 2007

can u tell when the last avalncheb was

massie from Canada Reply Oct 24th, 2007

im doing a reserch project on avalanches. do you have any good information?