Autumn sprinkled foliage blasts an array of colors like orange, yellow, and red onto the mountain landscape that’s freshly covered with a dusting of snow. The season almost brings fourth a sigh of relief, things are changing and another winter season is almost here. Enthusiasts are on the tip of their toes attempting to predict the nearly unpredictable – what will winter bring? Distinct memories and images of deep pockets of fluffy powder and adrenaline-filled lines sets the mind into a frenzy-filled emotion. But some folks are electing to ditch the day pass and venture into the varied terrain of the backcountry. So with another season approaching here’s why it’s important to invest not just in new equipment but in avalanche education as well.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center over the past 10 winters approximately 27 people have died each season in the United States due to avalanches. This doesn’t take into account those who have narrowly escaped death by miraculously staying atop or being dug up by partners. Avalanches are scary and a real factor when heading into backcountry terrain. As Polish Poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec wrote “no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible,” it just brings focus to the fact that mother nature is powerful and doesn’t take into consideration our ski habits. However as backcountry skiers and snowboarders we must feel the responsibility of making wise decisions on how we stay safe and one of the biggest steps to getting to this point is avalanche education.