IN THE Žiar Valley in the western Tatra mountains, a huge avalanche occurred on March 25, 2009. Luckily enough, the valley had been closed for several days, due to the imminent threat of the avalanche. The popular Žiar cottage was also closed.
Experts discovered that the avalanche, called “a 100-years’ avalanche”, fell a length of about three kilometres. It is also alleged that in a brief moment, several simultaneous avalanches occurred. The snow layer amounted to more than 20 metres in some places and was approximately 28 hectares (equal to 48 football field) in size. It was a dust avalanche, which can sometimes reach speeds of 200 metres per hour.
According to experts, the Žiar Valley, one of the most visited in areas in the western Tatras, ranks among the most dangerous for avalanches, mainly due to the central Príslop ridge, which cuts the road about 200 metres below the Žiar cottage, and is one of the biggest and most dangerous ridges in Slovakia.
The avalanche claimed no lives thanks to an early fourth-level avalanche emergency announcement. Snow in the area had been melting for more than two years, while the last remnants of ice, about 15 centimetres thick, were found under wood, branches and mud Pavol Gavlák, a guard of the administration of the Tatra National Park (TANAP), said in early June 2011.
22. Apr 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská