A big start to the snow season in Colorado, this year, means more people will be flocking to the backcountry. Snowpack is near average, which is well ahead of the last few years. Beaver Creek Resort in Eagle, County, says they have received more than 6 feet of snow already, which is the most since 1992.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center told Denver7 that the number of people recreating in the backcountry is growing at a very rapid pace. There are no hard numbers for backcountry users, but CAIC uses observations and secondary metrics to support that, "We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people purchasing backcountry equipment," said Brian Lazar, Deputy Director for CAIC.
Colorado averages 6 avalanche deaths per year and there has been 36 avalanche deaths here in just the last 5 years. Avalanche trainers now have a new tool that they are using to saves lives. It's a short film that they believe will spark a whole new enthusiasm in avalanche training and awareness.
The film draws you right into the drama and emotion of being caught in an avalanche. The opening sequence shows a skier with a body cam get buried. You can see and hear him struggle to get out of a snow pile. Watch the entire 15 minutes short film below.
The film is called "Know Before You Go," and it’s a campaign to save lives. The movie is produced and directed by members of the Utah Avalanche Center, in conjunction with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, but message goes far beyond the film. All the avalanche centers in North America are preaching the same ideals.
* Get the Gear
* Get the Training
* Get the Forecast
* Get the Picture
* Get Out of Harms Way
Big time pro adventurists are used to target a younger audience, and real life stories of loss and survival are used to emphasize the danger.
"It's a lot easier to get your message across to young people who haven't already developed bad habits," said Lazar.
The film states that 1 out of 4 people that are killed in an avalanche die from trauma, the rest die from suffocating under the snow. There's not way to tell how many people could have been saved by making smarter decisions on the slopes, but CAIC does know that the gear makes a big difference.
“If people were using transceivers and airbags, along with a companion, we could have saved about half of the people that would have otherwise died," Lazar told Denver7.
Professional Snowboarder Jeremy Jones closes out the film with this quote, “It doesn’t matter if you’ve made thousands of good calls, all it takes is one bad call, and that’s one too many.”
The 'Know Before You Go' classes are being held for the public in the coming months.
If you are part of a school group or outdoors club, the class will come to you. Just fill out this request form Class Request Form