Item: Avalanche evaluation and safety in the back-country
Title: Avalanche evaluation and safety in the back-country
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1976 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta
Authors: R. Perla
Abstract: Avalanche burials within developed ski area boundaries are rare; fatalities are quite rare. Almost all ski areas can boast a record of less than one avalanche fatality per 10 6 skier days. The fine safety record of the ski-area industry is due to the conscientious efforts of avalanche control teams supported by area management. For example, in 40 years of operation, the Alta Ski Area, which was built on the site of a ghost-mining town with a historical record of about 100 avalanche fatalities, has had only two avalanche fatalities within the ski area boundary, and one of these was in violation of a closure sign. Another good example is the Snowbird Ski Corporation,which, despite having an intense avalanche problem within and around the ski area, has had only one avalanche fatality in seven years of operation, serving over 10 6 skiers. Avalanche safety planning at Snowbird started during the earliest planning stage of the area. Snowbird avalanche teams continuously monitor the hazard, and use ample amounts of explosives to test and stabilize slopes (5000 charges per season). As soon as a slope is stabilized, it is opened to the public to receive the full benefit of ski-compaction. Should precautionary measures fail, avalanche teams are on standby at the top of the tram-lift to make the quickest rescue possible.
Keywords: fatalities, safety, backcountry skiing, avalanche rescue, burial
Digital Abstract Not Available