Storm brings skiers, snowboarders, and avalanche dangers to the mountains

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/storm-brings-skiers-and-snowboarders-to-the-mounta/83395/M1-clCmk50GfxQFSfCxrYg

SNOWBIRD, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Snowbird prepared the slopes for skiers and snowboarders by doing work with explosives to secure the snow. Using their best procedures they make sure the slopes are thoroughly monitored and maintained to minimize the risk of avalanches.

“Often times it will continue to snow while we have terrain open. Our best defense in that is to get the public to ski on it, get it compacted down, and getting it well skied up and that a hazard isn’t building,” said Eric Murakemi with the Ski Patrol at Snowbird Ski Resorts.

Snowbird says if they notice a hazard building they go in and try to fix the problem otherwise they close down the area until they can mitigate the risk.

But the big danger with avalanches comes from the back country and ski resorts that have already closed for the season.

“Almost all avalanche accidents occur in the back country, so otherwise areas outside of ski area boundaries. So, there’s not a lot of problems inside ski resorts because ski patrol knock down avalanches…Now this time of year a number of ski areas are closed, so it can be just as dangerous in a closed ski area as the back country,” said Bruce Tremper Director of the Forest Services Avalanche Center.

“If you’re skiing outside a controlled environment or a closed area you have to treat that with a lot of respect and know that anything can happen,” said Murakemi.

The Avalanche Center issues advisory’s during the winter season to notify people of possible risks and other information about snow conditions in the mountains, but have stopped issuing them for the remainder of the year because of the small snow season this year.

For people who choose to get into areas outside of designated ski zones, experts advise people be safe and be prepared for the unexpected by having proper avalanche training, understanding avalanche stability, notifying someone of where you will be going, having proper equipment including a shovel, probe, beacon, and a partner to go with.

It’s also important to have a plan, to know what you’re going to do and where you are going to go.

Meanwhile, those resorts that are still open will continue to monitor the progress of the snow all throughout the night and come prepared with a plan for the next day to make visits to their resorts enjoyable for everyone.

But even with all the prep, Mother Nature is unpredictable and experts just want people to be careful.

“I was out there yesterday, I’ll be out there today, and I’ll be out there this weekend. A lot of people will be out there, just be careful over the next few days, as the snow starts to settle and temperatures warm up, we’ll see avalanche activity pick-up over the next few days,” said Curtis Ray, ABC 4 Utah Meteorologist.

To get more information on snow conditions you can visit the Forest Services Avalanche Center website at http://www.utahavalanchecenter.org. You can also visit their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where people can also contribute and let other’s know about conditions. You can also call the toll free number to get the latest updates at
888-999-4019.

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