Experts Continue to Have Problems in Backcountry


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 5, 2005      

Over the years I’ve blogged about how the media almost always calls backcountry skiing accident victims “expert” or “experienced.” In a newspaper article I read some time ago, a California fire chief talks about this same issue. He asks, just when are we actually experts? When are we really experienced?

Self assessment is difficult so I won’t go there — but I agree with the fire chief when he says there are really not that many experts out there, nor is everyone really all that “experienced.” The guy’s salient point is that all of us should realistically assess our “expertise,” because we may not have that much of it. Applied to ourselves, what backcountry ski touring expertise we do have may not be increasing even if we’re getting out year after year.

More, (despite the media’s too liberal use of adjectives such as “expert”) it bears repeating that perhaps the biggest problem in backcountry skiing avalanche safety these days is that truly expert folks with experience and education tend to be caught in avalanches more frequently. Perhaps those of us who fall into that category (e.g., having knowledge and getting slid anyway) need to work hard on our judgment skills. I humbly include myself in this.

With above in mind, perhaps avalanche safety educators need to include safe travel assessment tests in their programs. It would actually be quite easy to develop tests that would help us get a realistic view of our own backcountry expertise. Questions could be as simple as “do you always carry items that you could start a fire with?” all the way to questions such as “In Colorado, what alpha angle would you use as a rule of thumb to figure out how far an avalanche slope might run-out once it reaches the valley floor?”

Such a test would be a cool way to finish up a community backcountry skiing avalanche safety course.



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version