You probably read with horror about the avalanche that killed 3 out of 13 skiers near Steven’s Pass in Washington last year. The New York Times’s, John Branch, writes a complete account of the tragic incident through the eyes of those involved and loved ones left behind. It is beautifully pieced together, though the question looms-is it worth it? Whether you ski in the backcountry, have friends who do, or want to learn something about a very real event that affected many throughout the ski industry, please take a look.
Moving to a ski town from a world where backcountry skiing did not exist, the fear of avalanches is very new to me. I recently took an introductory class through SheJumps with Kelli Rohrig of White Room Adventures, which gave me a day’s worth of overview information. I learned the very basics of snow science, different causes of avalanches, different snow types, basic terminology, and the most efficient ways to use my gear. It was eye-opening and it scared me to death. Avalanches are a very real threat to those of us who venture out into the mountains that surround us, whether it is alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, or even snow-shoeing. No matter how great of a skier you are at the resort, take the time to learn about the terrain around you, your equipment, and what to do when the shit hits the fan. Knowledge, not ski ability, will save your own and your partners’ lives.