With large amounts of snow during the winter season, avalanches are a major concern, especially in southeastern Idaho. Southeastern Idaho accounts for 65% of avalanche fatalities statewide.
Peter Schuler, East Region training coordinator for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, is involved in hosting free avalanche safety awareness training. These are two-day training events; the first day is an avalanche awareness presentation course and the second day is an outdoor companion rescue clinic, where participants are out on snowmobiles, simulating avalanche burial scenarios.
Schuler says it's ok if you do not own a snowmobile.
“If you don’t have a snowmobile… that’s no worry at all. Please come to the presentation if you’re able. Some education is better than no education,” Schuler said.
While having a fun, recreational day out in the snow, an avalanche is the last thing someone wants to encounter. Backcountry skiers especially have to be safe.
“A lot of people are unfamiliar with this, but just as we have a weather forecast, we also have avalanche forecasts for large parts of our region and the state in general,” Schuler said.
You can find that forecast from the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center, just visit https://bridgertetonavalanchecenter.org/.
At the training, participants will learn how to interpret and understand avalanche forecasts. Looking at this forecast can help skiers make well-informed decisions during the winter season.
The training typically takes place on Fridays and Saturdays. Schuler encourages participants to register online. Training dates and times can be found on the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation’s online calendar.
To find information on avalanche safety training, visit www.reced.idaho.gov