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Avalanche safety should be a huge concern for any avid outdoors person or anyone who will be in the mountain wilderness any time of the year, depending on your geographic location.  Regardless of where you are, the number one tip anyone can receive before travelling into avalanche country during that season is to avoid terrain where avalanches can occur.  If a slope is more than 30 degrees, stay off of it, and the milder terrain just below those slopes is considered just as dangerous if not more dangerous because it is where the slide will run-off.

Other helpful tips if you must enter an avalanche zone, are:

-Travel across the zone one person at a time, in case of slide a single person can be found easier than a entire group.

-Always travel with an avalanche beacon. This will allow any searchers to locate you in a more efficient manner.

‚Äč-Most deaths that occur as a result of avalanches are not due to asphyxiation, but as a result of injuries sustained during the slide.  If the snowpack starts to move get to the side and get off as soon as possible.

-Be prepared and know your gear and how it works. Essentials are a beacon, fire starter, long pole and a good jacket, and a shovel.

-Constantly monitor your surroundings and know how the weather is changing.  Most avalanches occur within 24 - 48 hours of new snow because the conditions usually change so quickly during those times

-If an avalanche does occur, statistics show that rescuers have a 15 to 20 minute window to rescue a person who is buried, so if you are caught and cant escape, try to swim to the surface as the pack moves.

So remember when travelling into the back country during avalanche season, be aware of the terrain and account for slope steepness, profile and aspect of the slope as well as ground cover, which can substantially keep the slide from ever beginning in the first place

Avalanche Safety