A Colorado avalanche instructor’s survey of backcountry skiers’ preparedness had “shocking” results | VailDaily.com

A Colorado avalanche instructor’s survey of backcountry skiers’ preparedness had “shocking” results

Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun
Avalanche safety educator Kelli Rohrig passes through the gate at the Vail ski area boundary atop Mongolia Bowl heading to East Vail. (Liam Doran, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Imagine you are pushing your raft into whitewater at the start of a remote river trip and you turn to the person next to you and ask them a question about basic river safety, says Vail backcountry ski guide and avalanche safety instructor Kelli Rohrig.

“And you find out that person doesn’t know how to swim or throw a throw-bag,” she says. “You’d be like ‘Oh man, you are a hazard.’”

Rohrig has been asking a lot of questions of backcountry skiers leaving the Vail ski area in recent seasons. As adventuring skiers begin their hike from the ski area boundary toward the steep, powdery slopes of East Vail, she’s been asking them about their avalanche training, their history with avalanches and their safety equipment. 

The answers she’s collected over the past three seasons are disturbing.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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