Avalanche education is one of the best ways to avoid being caught and/or buried by an avalanche while backcountry skiing, or, as the Utah Avalanche Center says “Know Before You Go.” To that end, the UAC is hosting a very concentrated avalanche workshop this Saturday, November 1st at the Southtowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. The morning session is open to snow safety professionals only, but the afternoon session (which looks as good or better) is open to the public. It is a fast moving format with lots of short 15-20 minute presentations, which keep it fresh and interesting. Plus, it tends to be very localized with presentations on the Wasatch, Uintas and Tetons.
I am especially interested in hearing Drew Hardesty’s presentation ” How the Freedom of the Hills has Become Anarchy in the Backcountry- A look at the Past, Present and Future of Freeriding in the backcountry.” This presentation references the growing issue of backcountry popularity in places like the Central Wasatch Mountains or the Taylor Mountain incident a few years ago. Although I am going to miss this event, I’m sure this will be a topic which is brought up more and more in the future – who is responsible for who, or what in the backcountry? Should there be rules or laws? What happens when a resort opens a backcountry gate and disgorges 50 people on top of a group touring up from below? Should public lands be closed to the public for the public’s own good? Who makes that decision? Skiing down on top of people is generally considered bad form, but do those below have any responsibility? What happens in a crowded area when you stomp a cornice and the entire drainage you are in rips out wall-to-wall? All of this and more are growing issues with urban avalanche avoidance.
The afternoon public session runs from 1:00pm until 5:30 and then finishes off with a social hour. The cost is $44 and more information/registration can be found here:
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