The Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) is reporting that of the 148 individuals caught in avalanches in Switzerland this season only 7 died as a result of the avalanche. This is significantly fewer avalanche deaths than the 20-year average of 20.5 avalanche deaths per season.
SLF cites that the 2016/17 season was characterized by warm temperatures and extremely little snowfall. March was the only month of the season with exceptional avalanche activity and numerous large natural releases.
Numerous ski resorts were delighted by the large quantities of snow that fell in the mountains starting in mid-November. Their excitement was of short duration, however, since foehn winds which followed in its wake quickly melted the white blanket. December was the driest month, with the least amount of snow, since measuring commenced. Many winter sport resorts reported a green Christmas for the second year in succession. The coveted snowfall finally arrived in January – but in much smaller quantities than a year earlier. Nevertheless, the lowest temperatures in 30 years in the Swiss plateau region ensured that the snow cover lasted for several weeks, even at low altitudes.
This was also the first winter in 9 years that there wasn’t an avalanche that claimed more than 1 life.