Know Before You Go

"You only have about 15 minutes to survive if you’re buried under snow."

Nancy Green


KUED Producer, Nancy Green, specializes in the production of documentaries for local, regional, and national PBS broadcast. Her work at KUED spans nearly 25 years, focusing on diverse topics, including healthcare, the arts, history, and the outdoors. Recent, films include, Homeless at the End, Search & Rescue, The Utah Bucket List, Maynard...Read more

Several storms are rolling in for the holiday season, which means lots of fresh powder in the mountains.  But, it also means high to extreme avalanche danger, so backcountry travel is best put on hold until the snowpack is more stable. Even when conditions are less severe, it’s important to understand basic backcountry safety. 

We’ve been following avalanche rescue dog training with Frankie and his handler Marguerite, but your best chance for avalanche survival is to be rescued by other people in your own party. The reality is that it takes time for rescue teams to reach victims, and you only have about 15 minutes to survive if you’re buried under snow. That’s why it’s critical to travel with a beacon, probe, and shovel, and to make sure that you and your partner know how to use them. 

But, the best advice comes from the Utah Avalanche Center; they say, “Know before you go.” Along with posting advisories, the center offers classes and online training to teach you how to recognize avalanche danger, how to avoid hazardous slopes, and what to do if you do get caught.  Enjoying Utah’s great snow and mountains brings joy to backcountry skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and snowmobilers alike. 

Marguerite and Frankie are hoping for a great powder year with lots of wonderful winter adventures, but they’re also hoping that we all learn to play it smart in the backcountry.

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