Summer Backcountry Safety

One amazing benefit of living in Utah is the ability to participate in multiple outdoor sports during any given season. It is currently over 90 degrees in the Salt Lake Valley but I know many people who went skiing this past weekend! And not just at Snowbird, but hiking and doing some backcountry skiing in late June. As lucky as we are to have these unparalleled opportunities, please continue to practice backcountry safety if you are considering touring.

Utah Avalanche Center

Although the UAC is not operating, users are still posting avalanche sitings and warnings. If you are in the backcountry and see an avalanche on a different aspect, post it on the UAC’s website to help educate other late season backcounter enthusiasts.
Likewise, if you are planning an upcoming tour, take a look at this site for any warning signs. It will possibly prevent you from putting in the effort to arrive at any area with unsafe skiing conditions.

Here are pictures of a recent slide: Pfeifferhorn June 20, 2011.

First Tracks Online Magazine

Another great resource are the forums on First Tracks. You can search by region and get first hand accounts about what current and recent skiing conditions are like. The Western North American Forum is where you can find posts from Utah’s die-hard skiers. Below is a recent picture from Main Chute, a popular run near Alta and Snowbird.

Main Chute June 26, 2011, Alta/Snowbird

As you can see, this lower portion of the run still has an incredible amount of snow. The best time to ski this time of year is very early in the day before the sun melts everything to slush to water.

There are many other resources available to backcountry skiers. Forums are a great way to learn from trusted skiers in your community. Find one that suites you, follow for local user updates and always be safe out there!

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