Author: Cassandra Whelihan
Taking off with a snowboard, backpack and essentials into the mountains in search of epic lines is a thrilling alternative to skiing at a resort. Nonetheless, backcountry skiing is not for the faint of heart. It comes with a serious awareness of your surroundings and an understanding of avalanches and potentially life-threatening conditions.
Moreover, a basic knowledge of snow could mean the difference between a memorable day in the powder or an unforgettable tragedy. The surface warming with respect to the meteorological processes has a dramatic effect on the safety of the snow pack. A hard snow pack on top of a soft snow pack can trigger an avalanche. Furthermore, back country enthusiast should understand the best paths to hike up a mountain in addition to the safest routes down.
Thankfully, Colorado offers plenty of classes to get you informed and out into the wild. AIARE, the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, is dedicated to saving lives through avalanche education. They offer five classes geared toward public awareness of avalanches and avalanche safety.
The Avalanche Awareness course is two hours of class time tailored to the public. Introduction to Avalanche Safety is a two day course personalized for riders that frequent avalanche terrain via access roads or chair lifts. The Level one, two and three courses involve hiking into backcountry, camping, skiing and learning about avalanche safety precautions through hands on experience.
AIARE enables individuals to choose the best class for their intended excursions and become esteemed â€œwild snowers.â€ Backcountry is where it really happens and human powered adventure skiing is an entirely new approach for snow enthusiasts. Just make sure that you are packed with preparation for any element of surprise Mother Nature may throw your way.
This video portrays the brilliance of backcountry skiing, but also how dangerous it can be if you are inexperienced.