High avy danger in the hills? When the forecast blinks red, skiers and riders often flock to ski resorts where ski patrollers mitigate avalanche-related hazards. But even when you aren’t earning your turns, it’s important to keep safety in mind, which may mean bringing your backcountry knowledge and equipment along with you on a lift-serve day.
We all know we should practice avalanche rescue more, but making it happen can be a sizable hurdle. Sometimes we try to bust out a couple laps in “search mode” at the beginning of the season to dust off the cobwebs. Other times, we’re lucky enough to have access to a beacon park at the local resort, presenting a chance to practice our skill set before heading to more dangerous terrain.
We see it all the time in the ski movies: people charging big lines in the mountains. It’s inspiring and makes us want to go out there and charge, too. Yet, most of the time we are riding “mini-golf” terrain in our own backyards, wondering when conditions will allow us to hit the bigger lines. There might even be other people going big. So how do we know when it is safe to ride big, committing lines?