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Free Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue Clinic

Saturday, February 8, 2020 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Where: Grangeville - Fish Creek Parking Lot

When: Feb 08th at 9AM

Registration is required - https://idpr.idaho.gov/reced

This is part two of two presentations. Attendance in our avalanche awareness classroom (Feb 07) is required to attend this companion rescue clinic.


Since avalanches are the number one cause of snowmobile fatalities in the west, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is presenting this free snowmobile based Avalanche Awareness presentation. This presentation is designed to familiarize the winter backcountry enthusiast with hazard recognition and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain. In 90 percent of the avalanche accidents, the victim or someone in the victim’s party triggers the avalanche. Avalanche conditions are predictable and many accidents can be prevented. If you are planning to ride in avalanche terrain, be sure to check the local avalanche forecast before your trip. We encourage you to take an avalanche awareness course if you ride in avalanche country, and check the United States Forest Service avalanche center forecast website. 

Goals of this program:
Understand basic trip planning - understand safe travel techniques - be able to distinguish between safe and potentially hazardous terrain - understand the basics of snow stability analysis - be able to perform basic risk analysis and employ risk mitigation measures - know how to perform individual and small group self-rescue.

1. GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe on their person and knows how to
use them.

2. GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course. Get smart! The smart first step is to learn from the avalanche experts. This will take a commitment of time and effort on your part. Divide the task into three parts. First, take an avalanche course. Second, check out the videos on avalanche safety. Third, do some reading and expand on what you have learned.

3. GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

4. GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists. Riding on or underneath slopes is
dangerous. Identify avalanche terrain. Avalanches run repeatedly year after year in the same areas/slopes called avalanche paths. Avalanches most often start on slopes of 30-45 degrees but sometimes start on slopes as shallow as 25 degrees and as steep as 50 degrees. Knowing the slope angle is “rule number one” in recognizing avalanche terrain, for once slope angles reach 30 degrees, you are in potential avalanche terrain regardless of all other factors. Read nature’s signs. Sometimes the snow shows clear and present danger signs of an avalanche. Some signs are a fresh avalanche, snow collapsing beneath you or creating noticeable cracks. Some weather signs that the hazard could be worsening fast are heavy snowfall -- more than one inch per hour -- or strong winds creating blowing snow and snow plumes off the ridges.

5. GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in
runout zones. Travel smart. There are several rules of safe backcountry travel that will help to minimize your avalanche risk. One at a time. Only one person at a time should go onto the slope. Avoid the center. The greatest danger on any steep slope comes when you are in the middle of it. Stay on shallow slopes. You can always travel on avalanche-free slopes up to 25 degrees. Never ride alone.

Fish Creek Parking Lot at Fish Creek Rd NF-221, Grangeville, ID 83530

Contact: Sam Hoggatt @ (208) 769-1511 or sam.hoggatt@idpr.idaho.gov