After a somewhat slow start to the season across the western half of the country, the jet stream is finally delivering consistent snowfall to the mountains in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. Although that's good news for the ski industry, it's also worrisome. Avalanche conditions in the Mountain West are among the worst we've seen in years. And the dangers don't only apply to backcountry skiers. Already this season, slides have injured or killed skiers inside resort boundaries and countless avalanches have made uncontrolled side- and backcountry terrain extremely dangerous. In an effort to educate all skiers about the risks, the National Ski Patrol and Utah Avalanche Center have developed a free, three-tiered online program about how to stay safe on the slopes this season. The campaign, called Know Before You Go, includes:
- A 15-minute, narrated video showing avalanches, people triggering avalanches and the destructive power of avalanches.
- A local avalanche professional telling their story about close calls or accidents they have had as they learned about avalanches.
- A 15-minute PowerPoint presentation about the basics of how to recognize avalanche terrain, recognize obvious signs of instability, safe travel practices, the basics of avalanche rescue equipment and self-rescue procedures, and where to obtain information about current avalanche conditions.
To view the program and for more information about avalanche safety, click HERE.