Know The Snow: Inside Project Zero’s Video Contest

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“We’re trying to create a new norm that really embraces avalanche safety skills,” says Tom Murphy, director of operations at the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), of the Project Zero initiative. Project Zero aims to reduce the number of avalanche fatalities to zero. And the initiative’s latest project is a community-sourced video contest and education campaign called Know The Snow.

Dig Safe: Proven Steps to Fast Excavation

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Beacons get all the glory. They’re expensive, tech-packed pieces of gear that backcountry users covet for finding partners and getting found. But shovels and shoveling deserve more credit. After all, when avalanche debris sets up like concrete, and your partner is buried deeply, your job doesn’t stop at pinpointing them with a fine search and a probe strike. Here’s a video of how to dig safe and dig fast.

The Art of the Up: Tips for Skinning Ease and Efficiency

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Look at any beginner skinner, and you’ll likely see an act of distress akin to uphill roller-skating on black ice. Look at someone who’s been at it for a while, and they might appear as comfortable sidehilling a sheen of breakable crust as a child frolicking through a meadow. Here’s how to become that skinner.

Pit Maneuvers: Snow pit tests and digging protocol

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When was the last time you dug a snow pit? During that Avy 1 course you took a few years back? On that one hut trip last winter to a zone you’d never skied before? Digging pits is often seen as time consuming, but, in reality, there’s no better way to understand the snowpack upon which you’re traveling. Here are four videos to refresh your skills.

Getting Caught in the Coast Range

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Last April, pro skier KC Deane joined photographer Mason Mashon and friend Kye Peterson for a photo session near the Pemberton Icecap in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains. KC and Kye skied a test run, made several ski cuts on their intended line and dropped a cornice nearby to no hazardous effect. But when KC dropped into his intended line, he took a wild ride.

Mountain Skills: Cutting a Cornice

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Dropping a cornice onto a slope can be an effective way to see if it will slide, simulating the weight of a skier on the snow. Here’s a video demonstration of proper cornice cutting technique.

Mountain Skills: Ski Cutting a Slope

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By skiing quickly across a slope you can test stability without hanging yourself too far out there. Here’s a video that demonstrates proper ski-cutting technique.

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