Oct 31, 2005
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It's spring time once again and many will be heading to the backcountry to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, snowmachine. etc. Unfortunately there are probably some who will be injured or die in avalanches in Alaska this spring also. The good news is that with some training, snow sense and proper equipment it doesn't have to happen. If you will be venturing into the backcountry this spring get yourself and your partners educated. Become "Avvy Savvy". Get a beacon, probe and shovel and learn how to use them. Make sure your partners know how to use theirs, after all, they will be the ones looking for you if you get buried! The Alaska Mountain Safety Center is recognized world wide and they have courses you can take. Contact your local Ski Patrols or other ski, snow machine and mountain travel organizations in your area. Many offer avalanche courses and may allow you to attend if they have room. If nothing else read a book and learn what to look for and what to avoid. Do whatever it takes. Your family and friends want you to stay alive and no one around here wants to read about your death either, especially when it could have more than likely been prevented. Some of you reading this may have already been touched by an avalanche one way or another and know what I am talking about.

Here is a quote from the Alaska Avalanche Schools webpage. It is true and they say it well so here it is:

"Most of the avalanches catching people are triggered by people, and the same mistakes are being made repeatedly. While some accidents are a result of not recognizing potential hazards, most accidents occur because the victims either underestimate the hazard or overestimate their ability to deal with it, often exercising poor route selection or choice of timing. Many avalanche accidents involve "experienced" skiers or mountain travelers. There is a tendency to assume that these people are also experts at evaluating avalanche hazard, but this is often not the case."

Get educated here: http://www.alaskaavalanche.com/index.htm

So, become Avvy Savvy and stay alive!

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