A Must in the Backcountry
As a Level 3 Avalanche Educator and Instructor certified through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), Parkite Shaun Raskin happily devotes much of her time to educating the public about avalanches. For tourists and locals who stay within resort boundaries, avalanches are of little concern because resort employees work round-the-clock to ensure that every run is safe.
For those planning to explore the backcountry, however, knowing how to plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain is a must. In Park City, backcountry and in- bounds areas reside side by side, often divided only by a rope. Says Raskin, “When you go out the gate at 9990 (a popular peak accessing black diamond terrain at Canyons), make no mistake, you are in backcountry.
Though you can see the ski patrol shack and it seems like you’re close enough to be safe, it’s truly not controlled snow. I wouldn’t think of stepping outside that gate without a beacon, probe and shovel and a knowledge of how to use them. All are necessary if someone in your party gets caught in an avalanche. Even so, there’s no guarantee of rescuing a buried person. Your best bet is to know how to avoid avalanches altogether.”
A good start to becoming snow savvy is to enroll in an avalanche education course. Raskin teaches AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 courses at White Pine Touring, and a variety of courses for The Utah Avalanche Center. The classes are a mix of classroom and field work covering a variety of topics, including travel techniques, basic rescue procedures, responsible decision-making and rescue.
If you don’t have time for a class this time around, know these facts:
Have fun and be safe out there!
For more information or to register for a class: whitepinetouring.com/ avalanche-training.php
Level 3 Certified AIARE Avalanche Instructor Owner of Inspired Summit Adventures
inspiredsummit.com firstname.lastname@example.org 435-640-4421