How To Survive An Avalanche

Doing a little backcountry exploration? Here are Jones’ top five tips for making it back to the lodge alive.

1) Look at the slope

No matter the conditions, think: “What happens if this slope slides?” Avoid terrain traps such as gullies, groves of trees and cliffs.

2) Be patient

Ninety percent of avalanches happen during or within 24 hours of a storm. Give fresh fallen snow time to settle before you go ride.

3) Think steep

Remember your maths. The most dangerous terrain is at exactly 38 degrees – the angle where snow is most likely to slide. Steeper slopes don’t hold as much snow.

4) Check the calendar

The majority of avalanche deaths in the Northern Hemisphere (if you’re skiing or snowboarding in the US and Europe) are in December, January and the beginning of February. March, April and May are much safer.

5) Know the avalanche forecast

Before skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry, always ascertain the meteorological conditions – and heed warnings about avalanches.

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