Avalanches can be a serious risk for backcountry skiers. This past weekend, 15 skiers including 1 member of the ski patrol were caught in an avalanche in Montezuma Bowl located within Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort's boundaries. This accident happened after A-Basin resort says they conducted extensive avalanche mitigation. This goes to show that avalanches can happen even when experts believe the area is safe.
Avalanche Safety Tips in the Backcountry
- Take an avalanche safety course.
- Be sure to always travel with a friend, wear an avalanche beacon and carry a shovel and an avalanche probe.
- Pay attention to the conditions. Changes in temperature, wind and new snowfall can all increase the risk of an avalanche.
- Learn how to properly use your safety gear.
- Practice using your equipment before you ever head into the backcountry.
- Avoid extremely steep slopes but also be aware on all slopes over 25 degrees.
- Know the conditions before you head out. Avalanche.org will give the risk levels for many different areas across the country. Check there or with the local authorities first and know what to expect.
These tips were designed to give you an idea of what you need to do to stay avalanche safe. Don't take your chances with an avalanche. Take an avalanche class and be prepared before you ever head into the backcountry.
You'll find more tips for safely enjoying the outdoors in other articles here on the Sierra Socialhub or check the Sierra Trading Post Buying Guide for tips on choosing the right gear for enjoying the outdoors.