Free lecture teaches avalanche safety
A free lecture in Park City Tuesday will focus on staying safe from avalanches.
"Most people who get involved in the course know that there is a definite risk involved with being outside of the ski resort," said Parkite Scott House, a White Pine Touring backcountry ski guide.
Free lectures Nov. 25 and Dec. 23 at the Santy Auditorium will focus on basic avalanche awareness, he said.
"Most who attend understand that traveling in the backcountry is dangerous and they want to start to learn how to become safer," said House, who organized the lectures. "The goal is, basically, to get people to think and start using a decision-making process to travel safely in the backcountry. This awareness lecture is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just to get you to start thinking about the consequences."
The three-hour events begin at 6 p.m. at the Park City Library and Education Center at 1255 Park Ave.
"We’ve always done avalanche-awareness lectures at White Pine in the past, and it was a $10 charge to come to the event. With free admission we want as many people to come as possible," House said, adding that attendance at the lectures has declined. "We decided it wasn’t worth us taking $10 out of somebody’s pocket We need more people to come to this because there are a ton of people skiing in the backcountry and a lot of people aren’t educated."
He hopes attendees will donate $10 to the Utah Avalanche Center, a nonprofit that promotes avalanche safety.
"They have really struggled to get the money they need to keep the avalanche center running," House said. "We need to get funding for the avalanche forecast center because that’s what keeps us all safe."
The center is operated by the U.S. Forest Service and forecasts avalanche danger in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains.
"It’s an important part of the community in Utah because so many people recreate in the backcountry in the wintertime," House said.
Meanwhile, he insists Tuesday’s lecture is no substitute for completing an entry-level avalanche safety course.
"It’s just an introduction to let people know the risks that are out there. If they’re going to go anyways, at least let’s give them the little bit they might need just to keep them out of trouble," House said.
The lecture explores how avalanches form and the role of weather in that process, he said.
"If you have already taken a course, this will refresh your memory and get you thinking about snow," House said. "This is a great opportunity for people to come for free and get an idea about whether this is something that they even want to be doing."
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