Avalanche information centers in Colorado and Utah are again partnering for the Know Before You Go campaign. The program is provided by Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and the Utah Avalanche Center. Instructors will be sent to youth groups throughout North America to present an instructional video and make a presentation highlighting avalanche safety. The programs are free for the groups that request them.
The program is aimed at eighth-graders, but thousands of adult skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, snowshoers and other backcountry adventurers have benefited from the education effort since its introduction in 2004.
A new video produced for this season is a dramatic depiction of the avalanche experience, featuring harrowing images of skiers, snowboarders and sled drivers getting swept up in slides. An opening, claustrophobic scene depicts a skier getting buried in snow.
Avalanches have killed an average of 39 people each year in North America over the past decade and injured hundreds more. There were 35 deaths last winter in the U.S. An estimated 37 percent of fatalities occur when the danger was rated “considerable,” so progress can be made on educating people about conditions to avoid.
The video is not just a scare tactic, educational tips are provided on how to avoid getting caught in an avalanche. The emphasis is on getting the proper equipment and training. The video was released on the Know Before You Go website this week and will be shown on the big screen for the first time at the Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s eighth annual fundraiser for the center Saturday at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.