Beacon, Shovel, Probe… What Else?

Earlier this month Keely’s Camp Operations Manager, Head Guide, and Coach Lindsay Mann Davis shared some tools she uses to stay stay safe in backcountry terrain in a Brass 101 Avalanche Webinar! The Brass Avalanche Center provides online resources and webinars centered around avalanche education and safety for competitive snow sport athletes.

If you would like to watch the full webinar, click below, otherwise keep reading!

For those of you who missed this webinar, we are excited to share some of our favorite takeaways and what we learned from Lindsay:

Backcountry skiing begins before you even leave your house with CHECKING THE FORECAST.

There is a lot you can learn about avalanche conditions while you are still cozy at home. Beyond reading your local avalanche forecast, Lindsay specifically talked about looking at wind direction, wind totals and average speeds, temperature, and recent precipitation. These different weather observations can help you assess whether there may be avalanche warning signs such as a wind slab on certain aspects or new snow on top of a weaker layer. Reading the avalanche forecast consistently is another way to create an encompassing view of the avalanche conditions and how to stay safe. Although the current forecast may not touch on what happened last month and how it impacts the current snowpack, if you have been reading the forecast daily you will have a better grasp on this information. We love the opportunity for lifelong learning backcountry skiing provides!

Traveling to a ski race or backcountry ski destination? The forecast is also a great resource to use for general mountain weather. Through you can find your local forecast and the forecast for any area you may be traveling to. The weather resources on the avalanche forecast can help you decide what layers to pack for the day and can even help decide what to wax!

In the webinar, Lindsay also talked about how to MAKE BACKCOUNTRY SAFETY SKILL FUN! 

Go out with your friends and practice companion rescue by creating a game. Take turns burying a backpack with a beacon in it and race to see who can find it the fastest. Or have a parent hide the backpack and time yourself as a team to see how fast you can find it! Make sure to practice probing patterns and correct companion rescue skills when going for speed.

Keely’s Camp Marketing Manager BB Hall also shared one of her personal favorite backcountry games- guessing the slope angle. Most avalanches occur on slopes between 30 and 50 degrees. Knowing how steep a slope is an essential, and challenging, aspect of terrain assessment. Bring an inclinometer on your next tour (or we love the app Theodolite) and see who can make the most accurate slope angle guesses with your friends!

If you would like to learn more about staying safe in backcountry terrain, sign up for our Montana Hut Based Backcountry Ski Camp for Girls or our Mother Daughter Avalanche Level 1 Course!