Quantcast

Bookmark Your Local Avalanche Center

Are You Ready To Go Backcountry Skiing?

Are you itching for winter to arrive so you can go skiing? Deep powder days and epic backcountry adventures aren’t far away, but now is when the snowpack starts to take shape. That means that as a responsible backcountry traveler, you need to start paying attention.

The Do It's, Teton Pass

Watch current conditions, tune into the weather patterns, and start noting the avalanche forecasts daily. Turn your backcountry radar back on. It’s time to become a sponge and soak in what’s going on in the mountains.

One valuable thing that you should do is bookmark your local avalanche center on your smartphone or your laptop. Get in the habit of reading the forecast every single day over your morning coffee. It will help guide your decision making and increase your understanding of the overall snowpack.

The USFS runs 14 backcountry avalanche centers that cover most popular spots, but there are also smaller websites that publish observations online. Here is a selection of both agency related, non agency related, and international avalanche centers. Bookmark them all.

Four Hour Couloir, GTNP

Hopefully this list will serve as a starting point for any backcountry adventure. Dive in to all of these links to explore more specific zones.

Besides websites, many of the avalanche centers also have mobile apps. Check out the FREE Avalanche Forecasts by Sebnarware. It has a map of most avalanche centers in the US and Canada. Then with a simple click you can read the forecast in any area. This is a fantastic resource to track snowpacks in different zones in case you’re going on the epic powder road trip that you’ve been dreaming about.

When you’re in the backcountry, it’s up to you and your partners to make your own decisions. Read the forecast, but you also need to understand what that forecast means. Check out Sarah Carpenter’s post on Backcountry Magazine – Mountain Skills: How To Really Read The Avalanche Forecast. It’s worth a read.

Find An Avalanche Course

Take an avalanche course. There are over 300 being offered this winter from AAI and AIARE. It’s always a wise to expand your backcountry knowledge. Remember, if there’s enough snow to ski, there’s enough snow to slide.

If I missed any avalanche centers, let me know so I can add them!