Avalanche safety

Avalanches pose significant threats to skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and snowshoers. Avalanches have killed 114 people in Utah since the winter of 1939, including 50 since 2000. According to Nate Furman, assistant professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, most of these accidents are avoidable if outdoor enthusiasts make decisions to reduce their exposure to risk. His top five tips to help outdoorists avoid avalanches are below.

  1. Check the avalanche forecast
  2. Don’t follow others. Just because you see others headed into the backcountry doesn’t mean that it’s safe.
  3. Stay on low-angle slopes.  It’s uncommon for slopes lower than 30-degrees to slide, even in relatively high avalanche hazard conditions.
  4. Go skiing at a resort during periods of poor slope stability.
  5. Get training.  U-EXPLORE offers seven avalanche education classes annually, staffed with professional guides and instructors.

Nate Furman | 801-585-3204 | nate.furman@utah.edu