Headed out to backcountry ski or snowboard this winter? Make sure you are properly educated about avalanches first – Avalanche Education is a crucial tool for anyone venturing out of bounds in the winter. Basic avalanche education includes:

  • Characteristics and types of avalanches
  • Movement of avalanches
  • Classifications by size and danger scale
  • Mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering
  • Trip planning and preparation
  • Risk management and decision-making
  • Human influence in group dynamics, decision-making and accidents

Travelers in the backcountry should also be proficient at:

  • Beacon and probe use
  • Identifying and evaluating avalanche terrain
  • Route-finding and travel techniques
  • Snow pit and snow layer analysis and tests
  • Risk evaluation
  • Identifying “red flags”
  • Avalanche rescue and beacon search techniques

Further information about these topics can be found on the Forest Services National Avalanche Center website.  Information is a great start when coupled with formal training, like an AIARE Level 1 course. Apex’s AIARE courses offer the tools you need to increase awareness in the backcountry. Upcoming three day Level 1 courses take place beginning Feb. 22nd and March 8th. For more information and to register, view our Colorado AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Education courses on our website.

Additionally here is a interesting video about avalanches from National Geographic