The Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) 21-22 Annual Report includes some celebratory stats.
In total the UAC documented 1.1K forecasts issued, 700k forecast views, 444 forecaster field-days, and 1.3k submitted public observations. Firm data on total skier days are not included. Neither are metrics on the number of skier days when avalanche danger ratings were moderate or higher. And we don’t know the terrain in which backcountry skiers and riders traveled.
But the UAC shouts a loud and proud benchmark, which resonates no matter your perspective: zero avalanche-related fatalities. The degrees of separation in small communities like backcountry users are small when avalanches occur. And to think of a place like Utah, and the Wasatch specifically, that most years bears a heavy weight of grief due to avalanches, I think we can all agree that beyond our personal choices, we owe places like the UAC some gratitude.
Here comes the pivot. Several months ago, I had a Snow Visa on the kitchen table when I had company over for a meal. The Snow Visa is about as analog an avalanche awareness tool as I can think. Here’s the gist: one side is sticky as it’s meant to adhere to your ski’s topsheet, while the top surface is waterproof and can be written on with a wax crayon (provided).