More about Ruedi Beglinger and Selkirk Mountain Experience

Post by blogger | December 23, 2004      

I’ve always liked Ruedi Beglinger and been a fan of his incredible operation in Canada. More, I have dozens of friends who ski with him every winter. As mentioned in previous blog posts, I’m curious about just how safe being guided in Canada is. Ruedi published a letter on his website (defunct link removed 2015) that says he’s done 5,600 days of ski mountaineering guiding as of this October. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume he’s had an average of nine people per day (I asked some of his clients for a ball-park average), for a total of 50,400 “guest days” under his wing.

As we all sadly know, seven people died during those estimated 50,400 days. So how does that compare to other activities? Take a look at various websites that try to make sense of human risk factors, then consider that fitness DECREASES your risk of death by a significant degree, and backcountry skiing requires a high fitness level. My gut feeling after doing a bit of math is that CAREFUL and risk averse backcountry skiers, guided or otherwise, can rest assured they have a statistical likelihood of leading long lives, and if misfortune does occur in our lives, it will probably not be in the form of an avalanche — our days being guided or otherwise.


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4 Responses to “More about Ruedi Beglinger and Selkirk Mountain Experience”

  1. sarah July 16th, 2010 7:21 pm


    You may be interested in the film I produced about Ruedi and the aftermath of the 2003 avalanche called A Life Ascending.

    Check out the website, you can sign up to find out when the film will screen near you and eventually be released on DVD.


  2. Jonathan Shefftz July 17th, 2010 9:23 am

    I just noticed this interesting statistic:
    “As we all sadly know, seven people died during those estimated 50,400 days. So how does that compare to other activities?”
    So let’s say you engage in skiing of comparable risk for the equivalent of three weeks each ski season, for 21 days total. You have 35 years left until you’re too old for this kind of stuff, after which you will retire to xc skiing and mellow lift-served groomers. Then you face a 10% chance that you will die in an avalanche.

  3. Rudi Kranabitter January 7th, 2011 6:44 am

    this is all quack, there are people out there with more days and no accidents how can you make stats like that. You don’t ever have to die in an avalanche if you play it wright neither did the 7 in Ruedis slide if he didn’t play god of the mountains.

  4. Kidd January 21st, 2011 7:46 am

    I don’t believe in those numbers at all. What’s he get $ 300/day. That’s $15,120,000. With that kind of money you can retire.

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