Avalanche specialists encourage precaution and safety equipment when in the backcountry

Family and friends work to unbury a snowmobile that was caught in an avalanche in Providence Canyon. Weston Casey, 19, was also caught in the avalanche and was buried. He was located by his father and brother and needed to be resuscitated.

Few people go out in the snow expecting to get caught in an avalanche but avalanche specialist Toby Weed said most fatalities happen to people unaware of the risk they are taking.

On KVNU’s Crosstalk program Friday, Weed said after some recent snow storms, conditions are about three out of a possible five for avalanche danger right now in the Logan area. He said that dangerous avalanche conditions exist, and there is considerable danger on steep drifted slopes in the backcountry.

There have already been two avalanches in the region that trapped or injured snowmobilers, just days apart from each other.

He said having rescue equipment is vitally important for those who venture out in the back country.

“As far as air bags are concerned, they do seem to keep people on top of avalanches if they get caught in them,” Weed explained. “So it’s probably a good idea.

“If you can afford to ride, you should probably afford to have an avalanche air bag backpack, which in most cases will keep you on top. The problem with those is that they can’t keep you from getting hurt from trees and trauma.”

He said although equipment can be helpful, the best kind of protection is to avoid avalanche terrain when it is dangerous. For more information about safety or snow conditions, contact the <a href=”http://utahavalanchecenter.org/” target=”_blank”>Utah Avalanche Center</a> or call their advisory hotline at (888) 999-4019.

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