October 15, 2019 | Posted in: JHMG

That white blanket that covered Montana last month reminded us of a few things. Yes, skiing. But also, the much-less-fun-to-think-about fact that early snow often contributes to increased avalanche activity throughout the winter sports season.

avalanche courseA light dusting in the fall is no big deal. But snow several feet deep, falling this early, will likely partially melt through autumn’s varying temperatures before being buried in winter’s white bounty. This creates an underlayer – basically an icy slab that has picked up stuff like pebbles and sticks as it solidifies – that the lighter, fluffier stuff will cover up in a couple months. Imagine a cake on a platter. Tilted. At a pretty steep angle. If the cake starts sliding, the platter is going to stay right where it is. Unfortunately, that icy underlayer is slippery; it makes sliding more likely than if snow was sitting on bare ground.

That does not mean stay home all winter. What it does mean is extra caution and as much education as possible is in your best interest. To stay safe in winter’s most remote and stunning spaces, consider adding avalanche safety skills to your toolkit with our AVALANCHE SAFETY COURSE 

Mother Nature: Love her, but take her very seriously.

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