What to know before you go: Avalanche risks to watch out for


UTAH (ABC4) -Ted Hesser is an adventure filmmaker and climbs mountains all over the world. he insisted on the importance of checking the avalanche forecast before setting off for the mountains.

“I have encountered avalanches in the high mountains almost everywhere I go,” explains Hesser. “When I go to the high mountains, there is no avalanche forecasting service. So it’s hard. You must do these assessments yourself. but here… there are teams of people doing it for you. And you can read their reports. And this information is very valuable, ”he adds.

Avalanches are one of Utah’s deadliest natural disasters, accounting for 52% of weather-related deaths, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. It is not just extreme athletes in avalanche danger. In fact, slopes over 30 degrees are considered avalanche terrain.

“Here in Utah we have a lot of avalanche terrain that the average user might not be familiar with. And it could be hikers, dog walkers, hunters, people who might be affected by avalanche terrain, ”says Nikki Champion, forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center.

And if you’re heading out into the backcountry, Champion says it’s important to take avalanche lessons, learn the signs, and most importantly, know the risks before you go.

“If you are at all worried about avalanches, you don’t really understand avalanches, just stay off slopes greater than 30 degrees, and you can avoid the problem by avoiding the terrain.” The first week of December was designated Avalanche Awareness Week by Utah state lawmakers three years ago.

Click here for the avalanche courses and education programs taking place this week.

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