Winter has come early and quickly to higher elevations in western Canada. As ski facilities across the nation start to open up their hills for the season, avid skiers couldn’t be more pleased. Skiing is great fun for those who love it, but it doesn’t come without its risks.
On average, according to an avalanche expert, up to 15 people lose their lives each year on ski slopes. That’s something that alarms officials and has prompted them to educate skiers about the possible dangers involved.
“We need to remind ourselves that avalanches can occur any time of the year,” says Ian Tomm, Canadian Avalanche Centre. “There’s a lot of snow up high and where there’s snow and mountains, there is avalanche hazard.”
There are various ways that skiers can prepare for adverse conditions on mountains. Tomm advises people to get out their equipment, like an avalanche transceiver or shovel, beforehand.
That is to ensure that you can inspect it and look for any possible damages. He says it’s also important to remember how to use your equipment. He even suggests practicing before you actually go on a hill.
Getting prepared is the key. If it’s been a while since you took a safety course, make sure you update your knowledge, he adds.
“Certainly, this is a stark reminder that travels in the back country carries its associated risks. The best way to protect yourselves from those risks is to be prepared and get the training, get the equipment and know how to use it,” he adds.
Before you head out to the slopes, be sure to check the avalanche bulletin. Happy skiing!