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Avalanche warning for northern Sweden skiers

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Avalanche warning for northern Sweden skiers
12:51 CET+01:00
Ski resorts in northern Sweden have been put on high alert for avalanches in areas popular with off piste skiers.

The highest likelihood of avalanches is in Riksgränsen, close to Sweden's northern border with Norway where a level four (on a scale with a maximum five) alert has been issued. Lower alerts have also been issued in other resorts including Björkliden, Idre and Kittelfjäll.

"I think most people follow the warnings. We have a long tradition here of high avalanche risk and many of our guests come back year after year," Magnus Åkerlund, a ski patrol warden told news agency TT.

A level four warning indicates that avalanches are likely to occur spontaneously or be triggered by skiers and visitors are advised to avoid areas with steep outcrops and ridges. So far no routes have been closed off in the area which attracts large numbers of off piste skiers late into the season. Yet two particularly avalanche prone areas may be closed to the public if the risk increases.

Åkerlund said that snowmobiles are particularly hazardous when it comes to triggering avalanches.

"Many snowmobile drivers lack experience of the mountains. They have powerful machines and are often out right on the edges of the slopes," he said.

Exactly ten years ago a major avalanche in the area killed one skier and damaged homes.

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