Anyone who hits the slopes regularly should plan on taking a safety course. These can range from a one day introduction, all the way to a full week of training that will cover all aspects of risk management and rescue. The time spend learning about avalanche risk factors can really be the difference between life and death. The instructors are knowledgeable and have years of experience in the high snow country.
One of the most important factors for everyone to remember is that awareness and prevention are the best policy. Many accidents could be avoided if the individuals had followed the most basic safety rules. Anyone skiing in high mountains needs to be aware of the dangers of an avalanche. They can happen at any time and without warning. However, there are usually signs to look out for that can help the skiers make an informed decision.
Everyone who goes up the mountain needs to recognize the conditions that contribute to an avalanche. There are some distinct and tell tale signs that once they are observed should never be ignored. Warning signs which are termed red flags indicate a significant risk. Knowing how to spot these and make an informed decision on how to act can save many lives.
One of the biggest mistakes new and novices skiers make is to be in a hurry to hit the slopes. They may only have a limited amount of time and want to make the most of every minute. This factor alone can often prompt them to make poor judgement calls and end up in trouble. They may also underestimate the risks involved and ignore warnings.
A well planned trip will also help to minimize the risks. Experienced leaders will take every precaution to ensure the safety of the group. They know the local terrain and conditions and stay up to the moment with weather reports. Good planning really does keep people safe. There are always warning signs, it just takes a trained and observant eye to spot them.
People in danger areas must also know how to avoid being caught in an avalanche. They must learn with an expert and understand how snow pack develops and metamorphoses over time. This will help them determine the safety of a particular slope. The unexplored back country is very appealing as it offers pristine snow and ideal conditions. Skiers must also be aware of the inherent risks that come with such beautiful country. Minimizing the risks is the best way to avoid being caught in a deadly situation.
Despite the best planning and knowledge some people will still be caught out by the snow. It is in these situations that the right avalanche training will really pay off. Knowing the best search and rescue techniques is vital and lives will depend on it. There are many ways to help get to a trapped person fast and everyone in the party should be well trained and ready to react.
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