History of U.S. Avalanche Accidents Reports

The American Avalanche Association’s collection of avalanche accidents is – for now – only that, a collection of serious (generally fatal) avalanche accidents in the United States from 1998-99 to the current year. By tradition avalanche accidents are tallied over the hydrologic year, which runs from October 1 to September 30 in the Northern Hemisphere, which accounts for the winter season when most accidents occur.

The collection in its current form presents a combination of data, official reports, new stories, or links to this information. Unfortunately, due to changing url addresses, some links are broken. Accidents that occurred prior to the 2006-07 season will continue to be available but will left "as is." Accidents starting with the 2006-07 season will be transferred to a new national digital database that will be administered by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and presented on www.avalanche.org.

At this time the accidents page provides a good compilation of fatal avalanche accidents. Anyone contemplating using this information for any sort of research must keep in mind that the information is only representative of fatal avalanche accidents and not of all avalanche accidents. While nearly all U.S. fatalities are fewer and fewer nonfatal accidents are being reported, and this presents a problem the American Avalanche Association and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center seek to correct.

This absence of nonfatal data significantly affects the accident statistics, especially skewing the statistics against survival. We have no reason to think that the incidence of nonfatal accidents is decreasing; they are just not being reported and documented. Please spread the word that all accidents should be documented and reported to www.avalanche.org. A reporting page is currently in the works.

Thank you for your help.

Please use the following citations when using these data sets in a publication.

Pre 2006/7: Atkins, D. (2007) US Avalanche Accident reports (1998/1999 to 2005/2006), [url], [date accessed].

2006/7 - current: Colorado Avalanche Information Center, US Avalanche Accident reports, [url], [date accessed].