Avalanche safety tips

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The Utah Avalanche Center issued an avalanche danger warning this week after the snow storms.

Is there anything more exciting than skiing in fresh snow? The powder below and the blue sky above can be one of the best parts about the Utah winters.

Utah is known for having some of the greatest snow on earth, but as people embark on their winter sports adventures, there are some safety precautions to consider.

As the snow continues to fall, the risk for avalanches increases. “We’re trying to keep Utah safe in avalanche terrain while enjoying the snow,” Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Nikki Champion said.

Utah averages about three avalanche-related deaths per year, and last year we saw four deaths in the state, according to ski patrolman Andrew Henneigh.

With so many outdoor enthusiasts in the state, avalanche safety training is crucial. While avalanches can be very dangerous, there are simple ways to stay safe. 

The Utah Avalanche Center has five steps to prevent any casualties in avalanches. Champion shared the five steps: “Get the gear, get the training, get the forecast, get the picture, and get out of harm’s way.”

Safety training classes are also available throughout the state. Henneigh said, “The best thing to do to take preventative measures is take a class.” These classes are taught by people like Henneigh, who are certified avalanche safety instructors.

Unsure what signs of avalanches are? Henneigh said the most obvious sign of avalanche danger is… an avalanche!

Snow sports enthusiasts can come together and learn about the equipment needed and safety precautions. These trainings can be crucial for sports like backcountry skiing, extreme snow shoeing, and snow mobiling. 

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