IT’S All fun and games until someone gets buried, right? This avalanche was triggered by the Russian army in North Ossetia by firing heavy artillery into the mountain (see video below) in 2011. As I watched the above video I felt uncomfortable by all the laughing as spectators watched an unbelievable mass of snow come sliding down the slope. Then at around 0:48 they realize this thing ain’t stopping. While beeps censor someone’s profanity out, you can still hear others laughing.

Maybe by living in the mountains of British Columbia I’m a little more sensitive about this, being keenly aware of the dangers of avalanches, not just to the skiers and snowboarders who head into the backcountry, but also to any Search and Rescue personnel that might be dispatched to go rescue them if the worst happens.

This map shows the locations of people who’ve died in BC in the past few years by an avalanche. Some prominent people have passed away in this manner in British Columbia: Michel Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1998; Craig Kelly, one of the most influential snowboarders in history, in 2003.

As winter in the northern hemisphere approaches, take care when you’re heading out into the backcountry. Check avalanche reports; carry a beacon, probe, and shovel; have your avalanche training; and go with friends. Stay safe this winter!