awareness of the danger of avalanche
23, 2000, Gazette)
Nicol, Grenfell environmental science instructor, examines a
block of snow that has been sheared.
is spreading the word about the dangers of avalanches.
studies instructor at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College said most
people in Newfoundland are unaware of the hazards that avalanches
it comes down to is that we simply dont know how frequently
avalanches occur, he said.
But the sporadic
nature of avalanches here certainly doesnt diminish the
threat they pose to human life.
to information provided by the Canadian Avalanche Association,
35 people in this province have died as the result of avalanches,
the most deadly geological hazard affecting Newfoundland and
Labrador. Fatal avalanches have occurred in southern Labrador,
as well as on the Northern Peninsula, in the Bay of Islands area
on the Baie Verte and Avalon Peninsulas. Another 44 people have
been injured. Most people killed or injured were in their homes
when the avalanches struck.
more people have died in their homes in this province due to
avalanches than in any other part of Canada.
years, people engaged in recreational activities are being caught
and killed a fact that further emphasizes the need for
in the last few weeks many avalanches have run in areas where
people commonly ski and snowboard near Corner Brook, said
Mr. Nicol. Weve just been lucky so far this winter.
of avalanches was the subject of a series of courses held by
the Canadian Avalanche Association on the west coast earlier
this month, said Mr. Nicol. Ski touring guides and winter trip
leaders attended the first course in Woody Point, a community
within the boundaries of Gros Morne National Park. Snowmobile
guides and trip leaders headed to the Lewis Hills just outside
of Corner Brook for the second course, and the third course was
held in the Blomidon Mountains in the Bay of Islands for search
and rescue managers and personnel as well as police.
winter, Mr. Nicol took an eight-day level two ava-lanche course
based in Golden, B.C. to enable him to teach basic avalanche
courses in this province.
incorporates ava-lanche training in the outdoor pursuits component
of his environmental courses at Grenfell. He teaches students
such techniques as noting snow conditions, choosing routes that
are less likely to cause avalanches and digging through snow
layers to observe the strengths and weaknesses of areas to be
more avalanche awareness, hopefully we will not repeat the high
number of deaths that have occurred in Western Canada over the
past few years, said Mr. Nicol.