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New Colorado avalanche study reveals troubling trend heading into busy backcountry season – The Colorado Sun – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2020-11-20 06:20:00 –

And according to Green and Logan’s research, it may not be the newcomers behind the potential increase in avalanche accidents this season. Their study overturns the assumption that beginners flooding the backcountry are more dangerous than experienced travelers who may push further into dangerous terrain at more dangerous times.

Greene and Logan have found that most people involved in last season’s avalanche have intermediate or advanced level experience. This reflects previous research showing that experienced and educated backcountry travelers spend more time on avalanche terrain and are more likely to enter the backcountry at increased risk of avalanches. I will.

The trouble with Greene is that when the danger rises to level 3, or “significantly,” the proportion of experienced travelers increases and it appears that an avalanche is occurring.

Almost half of the deaths from avalanches in the United States occur when the risk is “significant.” Most Colorado occurs when the risk is level 2, “medium”, or “significant.”

Greene and Logan found that most of the incidents that occurred when the risk was “significant” last season occurred in the weeks following the resort’s closure in mid-March.

And those travelers were well educated. Almost 40% of the people involved in the avalanche last season took formal Level 1 avalanche classes. About 70% received intermediate or advanced avalanche training.

A small slide of a few inches of fresh snow descends into a weak layer, finally flushing the ground with the March 25 avalanche and facing reckless danger and fine charges to replace the damaged avalanche mitigation system2 A human snowboarder was involved. (Provided by Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

According to Green, there were concerns about the proportion of incidents after the resort was closed due to a pandemic.

“The number of post-pandemic accidents in’quite’has increased significantly. Looking at the total number of days in’quite’, it was more dramatic than expected,” he said.

CAIC aims to assist backcountry travelers of all levels. While more and more focus is on educating new backcountry entrants this season, Green also helps his predictions and reports inform more experienced backcountry travelers. I want to make sure that.

“Something like this is useful for everyone,” he said.

Then what should I do? According to Green, continue to educate and publish reports. Encourage all backcountry travelers to review forecasts before every trip and gain a better understanding of the avalanche risk rating scale that Green calls a “challenge communication tool”.

Evaluation scales are useful because they are used all over the world. It can also be difficult to understand because it measures and ranks two different risks: an avalanche is likely to occur and a location where an avalanche is likely to occur.

“How likely is it to find a place to trigger? Then, how likely is it to trigger when you find that place,” Greene said. “There are a lot of accidents in’Medium’, because it’s often difficult to find a location, and then it’s very easy to trigger that slide.”

Halsted Morris, President of the American Avalanche Association, wants to study skiing and snowmobile abilities more closely, along with avalanche education and experience. Those who are experienced in avalanche terrain tend to be better skiers and want to explore more difficult terrain.

“We are always involved in this debate around the idea that a little knowledge is dangerous and it is not entirely true,” said long-time avalanche educator Morris. “If that were true, we wouldn’t have had so many experienced and skilled people in trouble. Those who weren’t educated would be in trouble.”

The American Avalanche Association, like almost all avalanche education groups, encourages new entrants to the backcountry to take an avalanche course or awareness clinic. Not only that, but think about first aid to survive an exposed night in the mountains and the ability to carry injured companions from the snow-covered wilderness, Morris said.

“These skills are the result of experience, and I think guides are the ones new people should come into contact with,” Morris said. “I don’t want to hire a guide to go skiing. You hire a guide to learn a lot of important skills.”


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