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.