Winter Sport Season Also Avalanche Season, Be Prepared

Avalanche Season, Be Prepared
Although an avalanche can occur whenever there is snow on a mountain range, avalanches most often occur between the months of December and April. It is important for visitors to be equipped with the current avalanche forecast, the proper avalanche rescue equipment, and avalanche training.

Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center Facebook photo

Each year millions of avalanches sweep down mountains across the United States. While most occur naturally and well away from people, sometimes wintertime sports enthusiasts trigger, get caught, and are killed by avalanches. There have already been 21 fatalities during this 2020-
2021 season, which is high compared to the 2019-2020 season total of 23.

With another 2-3 months of peak avalanche season remaining, visitors should exercise increased caution when traveling out into the backcountry.

Visitors can mitigate their avalanche risk by doing the following:
• Get the Forecast – access the latest avalanche forecast. For the Inyo National Forest, visit the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for forecasts throughout the west. There, professional avalanche forecasts are posted daily and highlight the level of risk in an area on a scale from 1-Low, to 5-Extreme.
• Get the Gear – Another critical component of avalanche safety is having the appropriate gear. There are three essential pieces of gear: An avalanche beacon, a probe, and a shovel.
• Get the Training – Find an avalanche course provider at, and get trained up in avalanche safety. Start your training online by watching the Know Before You Go safety video.

To learn more about avalanches and safety please visit ESAC or the National Avalanche center at

, , , , , , ,

6 Responses to Winter Sport Season Also Avalanche Season, Be Prepared

  1. Oldtimer February 12, 2021 at 4:56 pm #

    See excellent NYT article of 12/2019 on heuristic error in re avalanches

  2. Mono Person February 11, 2021 at 7:17 pm #

    I’m not a big fan of “Not for thee, but ok for me”, but I think Nate knows he screwed up. Let’s give a local a pass…we don’t need to “argue” about every issue. The Rona has made us angry people.

  3. quacque February 11, 2021 at 10:05 am #

    Your post is nonsense from beginning to end. Nate’s job is to know what is happening in the mountains with the snowpack; his observations and recommendations are what keep backcountry travelers informed enough to make good decisions. Your estimation of visitors and instinct shows you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. You seem most interested in smugness and character assassination, which says a great deal more about you than it does Nate.

    • French Laundry February 12, 2021 at 5:25 am #

      So I’m smug – for pointing out what Mr. Greenburg did on purpose?

      I think it the height of smugness – and dangerous smugness at that – to blithely go skiing in the backcountry when avalanche hazard is extremely high.

  4. French Laundry February 11, 2021 at 5:52 am #

    Thanks for the tip.

    But you should tell all that to ESAC Board member and guide-book author Nate Greenburg, who thought it was a good idea to go backcountry skiing right after a big storm and triggered an avalanche.

    Who knew?

    Nearly all “visitors” have common sense, and instinctively understand the hazards of avalanches; and so going skiing where avalanches are controlled.

    That’s why it always seems to be the “experienced backcountry skier” who sets off deadly avalanches.

    Remember the Mt. Tom tragedy a few years back?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.