Friday, January 20, 2012

Be Safe Out There

It's a well know fact that here at Animal Farm, we care about the safety and well being of all boarders. With the Protective League, we try to promote safety, fun and defying the dangers inherent in our sport. One of those dangers, however, can barely be mitigated by just wearing a helmet. I am referring to avalanches.

Rich and I found ourselves just outside ski area boundaries yesterday, and ended up setting off a very sizable avalanche. It was terrifying. Rich noticed some signs of danger, and recomended that I pull out of a gully into a safe zone after dropping a cliff. I did as he suggested, and just as I reached the ridge, the entire gully slid, and fractured over 100' all the way clear over to another ridge. The slide gained momentum, traveled through and number of trees and off some cliffs, and continued all the way down to the bottom of the zone.

We were both well aware that the avy conditions were poor, but with the limited coverage we did not imagine we would find ourselves in any avalanche prone terrain. Because of this, neither of us were carrying our beacons. Now for the take home message. Always be mindful of your surroundings, have the proper safety equipment, have a buddy, and listen to the signs. We were lucky that no one was taken for a ride, but were certainly shaken by the ordeal. We both left with a greater respect for the mountains, whether it be miles in the backcountry, or just out of bounds. Stay safe, stay alive.

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