Avalanche safety tip of the week | SierraSun.com
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Avalanche safety tip of the week

Brandon Schwartz
special to the action

When traveling in avalanche terrain, learn to recognize and avoid potential trigger points on a slope. Isolated trees and rocks are areas where weaker snow is often closer to the surface of the snowpack and human triggering of avalanches can occur more easily. Convexities or roll-overs on a slope are areas where the snowpack is under greater stress and it is easier to create human triggering of avalanches at these points.

For skiers and snowboarders, these terrain features are most often encountered during downhill travel. For highmarking snowmobilers, these terrain features are encountered during both uphill and downhill travel.

There is an art to moving through avalanche terrain and avoiding potential trigger points. Being able to look at a slope and recognize areas to avoid and areas to trend closer to is something that most skiers and snowboarders within ski area boundaries think nothing about. In the backcountry, good line selection can make the difference between successfully ascending or descending a slope without triggering an avalanche.

Brandon Schwartz is the Avalanche Forecaster for the Sierra Avalanche Center and U.S. Forest Service in the Tahoe Region. Look for a new avalanche safety tip of the week each week here in the action. For more information and daily updates, please see http://www.SierraAvalancheCenter.org or call the Avalanche Hotline at 530-587-2158.


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