Safety

An awesome avalanche class location map for the U.S. is here: www.avalanche.org/education.php


The following information is not intended to guarantee any individuals safety while backcountry skiing. These words are mere guidelines which will hopefully allow individuals to learn more safely. Backcountry skiing may be dangerous to personal safety and this information is not intended to keep anyone safe. The following is a theoretical question.

How do I Ski in the Backcountry Safely?

Backcountry enthusiasts are largely at the mercy of the decisions that they make based on their interpretation of the ever-changing environment around them. Unfortunately, decisions are often not cut and dry, some potential dangers may even seem benign much of the time. Accidents happen due to scientific reasons and if we are to avoid accidents we must realize that this science is often impossible to see or difficult to interpret. Mother Nature plays by her own rules and we must learn to work with her.

Key points that contribute to skiing safely in the backcountry are: knowledge, proficiency, preparedness and humility in, and of multiple contributing realms. If a backcountry traveler lacks in any particular factor or has a degree of ambiguity involved with any factor they should allow it to be reflected in the prudence of the decisions they make. Prior experiences must be considered carefully for the potentially negative influences which they may have on a given situation. We must realize that poor decisions may often not lead to poor outcomes and that this may alter our perception of safety. It also needs to be recognized that it may only take one poor decision to end the game entirely. Backcountry skiing is a game of odds and we must do everything in our power to increase our chances if we are to continue to enjoy the sport time after time and year after year. It all starts with education and the ability to realize that every human is fallible.

On a special note: care needs to be taken in how we both communicate with and trust those who may influence the decisions which we make.

All aside, a person’s safety is largely dependent on how much value they have for their own life! Amazingly, there is a phenomenal degree of variance in regard to this and it is largely connected to the acceptable levels of risk people are willing to take. So be careful who you ski with! Regardless, it is up to the individual and only the individual to make any final decisions of their own actions.

and TAKE an AVALANCHE CLASS at the very least!

An awesome avalanche class location map for the U.S. is here: www.avalanche.org/education.php

-jm

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