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With the growing practice of winter tourism and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria, avalanche accidents have become more frequent in recent years. The latest incidents in particular have drawn serious public attention about the need to better address the problem of avalanche safety.
In the absence of a civil service with a mandate for this role, together with a group of avalanche professionals and highly experienced mountaineers, we founded the Bulgarian Avalanche Association – a non-governmental organisation with two major ambitions:
In December 2019 two of our founding members certified successfully as avalanche professionals in Canada and got the support of the Canadian Avalanche Association for launching the project in Bulgaria.
We launched avalanche.bg, a public and free information platform that includes:
With the support of Bansko Ski Resort we installed the first snow study plot and started conducting systematic weather observations.
Every Friday morning our team published a professional avalanche bulletin based on observations from previous days and the weather forecast, covering the weekend.
Our team was engaged in the avalanche danger assessment and safety for the upcoming 3-star FWQ event, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the global pandemic.
We signed our first major agreement with the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Mountain Rescue Service for mutual cooperation.
We gained the recognition by the Ministry of Environment and signed a mutual cooperation agreement with the Pirin National Park Directorate.
We were generously supported by RECCO with the first detector in Bulgaria for demonstration purposes and raising awareness of its benefits for search and rescue.
Every year, with the beginning of the winter and the first snow, thousands of mountaineering enthusiasts enter avalanche terrain, in most cases without even suspecting the dangers. Especially now, in times of a global pandemic, the number of people who choose to spend more time in the mountains is expected to increase significantly. The need for accurate information about the snow and avalanche conditions is more urgent than ever.
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