Avalanche Safety Tips

As the snow returns, so does the risk of avalanches in Colorado.  However, through incredible work by dedicated snow experts using technology to promote education and awareness, the opportunity to be more informed about snow safety, stability and conditions has never been easier or more accessible.  So, at the beginning of this season, take minute to brush up on some Avalanche Safety Tips and check out the new resources in Colorado available to you to stay informed!
  • Take an Avalanche Level 1 Class.  There is nothing you will do in terms of avalanche safety that beats getting together with snow nerds to learn tips, tricks and insights about snow and how it acts.  These classes are open to anyone who is interested or spends time in the backcountry.  An often overlooked recommended audience for these classes are first responders.  If you are in search and rescue, or are a firefighter and involved in over the rail or high/low angle rescue in winter conditions, familiarizing yourself with snow, sounds, and avalanche warnings signs will help enhance your situational awareness and company safety.  Check out the CAIC training calender for course information in your area.
  •  Before heading out, check the current avalanche forecast.  Also check the latest weather forecasts from the National Weather Service.
  • Never Travel Alone.  1) you will have more fun telling stories of adventure later as a group and 2) your friends and fellow adventurers may save your life by providing extra eyes, ears and - if necessary - means of communicating to authorities/help as to where you are if you get trapped.
  • If crossing a slope prone to avalanche's, go one person at a time (see above bullet).  If you are unsure if a slope is prone to avalanche, also see above bullet(s).  In a class, rather than by experience, is where you need to learn to look for angles, snow conditions from your pit, awkward open spaces, trees missing limbs on their bottom half, and other tell-tale signs of the avalanche history of a slope.
Colorado Avalanche Resources
Colorado Avalanche Information Center - http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php - This is your one-stop for information, training and conditions.  Too, check out the CAIC's Twitter Feeds.  They are immensely useful for those in the backcountry or in the area(s) wanting to keep up with the latest regarding avalanche and snow conditions, projections and news (linked below).
CAIC - Steamboat and Flat Tops Info - http://twitter.com/@CAICsteamboat
CAIC - Front Range - http://twitter.com/@CAICfrontrange
CAIC - Vail and Summit County - http://twitter.com/@CAICsummit
CAIC - Sawatch Range - http://twitter.com/@CAICsawatch
CAIC - Aspen - http://twitter.com/@CAICaspen
CAIC - Gunnison - http://twitter.com/@CAICgunnison
CAIC - Grand Mesa - http://twitter.com/@CAICgrandmesa
CAIC - Northern San Juan - http://twitter.com/@CAICnthsanjuan
CAIC - Southern San Juan - http://twitter.com/@CAICsthsanjuan
CAIC - Sangre de Cristo - http://twitter.com/@CAICsangrecrist
CAIC - Off-Season Avalanche Information - http://twitter.com/@CAICstate

Have Fun and Be Safe!