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Know before you go; how to prepare for an avalanche

Posted at 7:13 AM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 09:13:31-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The winter season is upon us and if you plan to hit the backcountry, it’s important to be prepared for avalanches.

A family business for over 50 years here in the springs, Mountain Chalet focuses on backcountry skiing, winter hiking, ice climbing, and the outdoors. And they also offer classes on avalanche safety.

According to the Avalanche Information Center, about 2,300 avalanches are reported every year in Colorado. However, many go unreported. Experts say before you head to the slopes, it’s best to check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s avalanche forecast. This site gives you up-to-date information on avalanche and mountain weather conditions.

 The staff at Mountain Chalet are experts on what you need to do to stay safe while skiing in the backcountry. They recommend you have a beacon, a probe, and a shovel before hitting the backcountry. They also suggest you have an avalanche airbag backpack as an extra safety precaution. While it’s helpful to have the gear, it’s also important to make sure you know how to use this gear.

 “You need to know how to use it like any tool, what you’re trying to do is…the purpose behind avalanche safety equipment is to locate and unbury your partner as fast as possible. You have less than 20 minutes to find someone if they are buried,” said Jim Smith, the owner of Mountain Chalet.

 If you’d like to learn more, there are full training courses at the Pikes Peak Alpine School in Colorado Springs.

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