Embracing the power of knowledge: Avalanche safety

  • Published
  • By Eli Whitman
  • 75th Force Support Squadron and Weber County Search and Rescue

As we embark on another season of winter adventure, it is essential that we take a moment to reflect on the importance of safety, especially when venturing into the breathtaking, yet unpredictable mountains.  As Hill’s Community Services Flight Chief and Weber County Search and Rescue - Mountain Rescue Team lead, I want to share with you my thoughts avalanche safety. We live in an area surrounded by mountains and the greatest snow on earth, which offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. However, with great beauty comes great responsibility. Avalanche safety is not just a matter of knowledge, it is a commitment to each other's safety, a pact to return home to our loved ones after every adventure.

I strongly encourage you to embrace the "Know Before You Go" program. This initiative is more than just a catchphrase, it's a mindset, a set of principles that can make the difference between a thrilling adventure and a potentially deadly situation. Understanding the terrain, weather conditions, and avalanche risks is not just a personal responsibility, it's a collective duty we owe to our families, friends and co-workers if we travel into the backcountry. To further emphasize the significance of avalanche safety, I invite you to watch the following video: Know Before You Go Video. This video provides valuable insights and real-life scenarios that underline the importance of being well-informed and prepared adventurer.  

Remember, knowledge is our most potent tool in the face of uncertainty. By arming ourselves with information and adopting a vigilant mindset, we not only protect ourselves but also contribute to the safety and cohesion of our squadron. As we venture into the mountains, let us do so with a sense of awe, respect, and responsibility. Together, we can create a culture of safety that ensures our adventures remain memorable for all the right reasons.

Stay informed by keeping up to date with the latest avalanche conditions by visiting the Forecast - Utah Avalanche Center website, learn some skills by taking a class like the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Recreational Level I course at Weber State University Adventure Program Adventure Program (weber.edu), and may our collective commitment to each other be the guiding light on our mountainous journeys.