February 7th, 2013
Avalanche Press ConferenceZero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, by John Gleason.
Last Friday, we held a press conference inviting the media to help increase awareness of avalanche safety and the resources available to those who access avalanche country, including the backcountry in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Backcountry skiers and snowboarders endanger hundreds of people by not utilizing available information sources and entering avalanche country at the wrong time. Skiers and riders need to be aware that their actions and decisions may not affect only themselves, but also drivers along the canyon road. Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of the highest-risk roads for avalanches in North America and backcountry skiers and snowboarders need to be aware that UDOT may carry out artillery or explosives avalanche control work at any time during the avalanche season (November to May).
Liam Fitzgerald, UDOT’s Highway Avalanche Safety Supervisor, helped inform the public at the press conference of the numerous resources UDOT and our partners provide to inform backcountry users of where and when avalanche work will be carried out, including:
- UDOT Avalanche Control website: www.udot.utah.gov/avalanche
- UDOT Avalanche Control work hotline: 801-975-4838
- Utah Avalanche Center website: www.utahavalanchecenter.org
- Avalanche Control work message feeds via twitter: @UDOTavy; @UACwasatch; @CanyonAlerts
The press conference was a success and you can watch one of the resulting stories below.
Our next steps to increase awareness of UDOT’s avalanche resources are a social media campaign targeted to appropriate audiences. By utilizing local public opinion leaders such as professional athletes and prominent ski/boarding brands, an informative UDOT Avalanche Awareness video will be spread locally to help keep backcountry users safe.
Here’s to a safe 2013 winter season!