Avalanche Safety | Mountain Sledder Magazine
The Mountain Information Network (MIN) is THE source for real-time, location-specific information on riding conditions…or it could be. Here’s the caveat.
Avalanche Canada is heading to north-central Alberta to deliver the Backcountry Avalanche Workshops (BAW) in five communities this November. The BAW is an excellent early-season tune-up on avalanche safety to get you thinking about the avalanche essentials and safe backcountry riding habits.
Right from the first initial snowflake that sticks to the ground, we should be paying attention. While early-season snowfalls get our blood pumping for the first rip, we can do ourselves a big favor if we try to understand a little bit of what is happening up in the mountains during the early-season.
Due to an overwhelming number of close calls involving snowmobilers last season, Avalanche Canada presentations at snowmobile shows this fall will focus on the lessons learned from sledders who are fortunate to be alive. The intent of re-telling these stories is not only to examine the mistakes made, but highlight avalanche awareness and introduce available resources to help ensure safe backcountry sledding.
BRP is offering avalanche awareness seminars in 17 locations in Canada throughout October and November, with 25 locations scheduled in the Unites States. The avalanche awareness seminars are open to anyone interested—not only BRP customers.
Some key improvements include an increased 70m search strip width, which can improve search times. Also, the interface on both transceivers has been completely redesigned to help simplifying searching technique in a rescue scenario. Combined, these improvements should drastically affect search and rescue times.
The sledder, who was reportedly travelling alone with his transceiver off, was buried 2m beneath the avalanche debris. Two nearby snowmobilers had heard the engine sound of a distant snowmobile stop and happened to notice a cloud of white in the distance.
They say that hindsight is 20/20. Looking back on the significant avalanche events that occurred just a few ridges to the south—as well as in the nearby Rockies—it’s clear that the snowpack at Gorman Lake on that sunny Sunday was tipping on the edge of disaster.