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Two skiers narrowly avoid avalanche in Australia

Thick snow and strong winds lead to unstable conditions on mountain slopes in southeast Australia.

Victoria

Two skiers had a narrow escape after an avalanche roared down a mountain in southeast Australia.

The incident happened in Victoria, close to Mount Hotham's patrolled resort area, on Tuesday morning, according to news.com.au.

An avalanche warning was issued on Monday by Vic Emergency, which provides emergency information and warnings across the state, after avalanches were spotted in the alpine region.

So far, most of the avalanches have occurred away from patrolled resorts, in regions which are known as back country areas.

Avalanches are rare in Australia, but recently a large amount of snow has fallen in a short time.

In just five days, a metre of fresh snow accumulated on the mountains of Victoria. This has provided once-in-a-decade skiing conditions, but the slopes are not very stable.

The snow, which was already lying on the slopes, was more compact and covered by a layer of hoar frost which prevented the new snow from binding with the existing snow base, making it prone to avalanches.

Strong winds and rising temperatures also elevated the risk.

Vic Emergency said resorts had performed controlled avalanches to minimise the risk and urged skiers to stick to patrolled areas.

The inspector of Emergency Management in the Hume region added that skiing in areas that were not checked by ski patrols would be extremely dangerous.

In 2014, two people died on the high plains of Mount Bogong after being hit by an avalanche.


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