Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Wilderness Environ Med. 2018 Dec;29(4):493-498. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2018.05.004. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Avalanche Safety Practices Among Backcountry Skiers and Snowboarders in Jackson Hole in 2016.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC and; Division of Emergency Medicine, TeamHealth, West Region, Emergency Professionals of Colorado, Greeley, CO (Dr Nichols).
2
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton General Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario (Dr Hawley); Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (Drs Hawley, Wheeler, and McIntosh).
3
St. John's Medical Center, Jackson, WY (Drs Wheeler and Smith); Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA (Dr Smith).
4
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (Drs Hawley, Wheeler, and McIntosh); St. John's Medical Center, Jackson, WY (Drs Wheeler and Smith). Electronic address: wheelerdoc@mac.com.
5
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (Drs Hawley, Wheeler, and McIntosh).

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Carrying standard safety gear (beacon, probe, and shovel), planning a route of descent, and recreating with companions can help to mitigate the risk of injury or death resulting from avalanches in the backcountry. The goal of this study was to identify factors associated with performance of these safety practices.

METHODS:

A convenience sample of backcountry skiers and snowboarders was surveyed in 2016 at the backcountry gates of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Each participant was surveyed on characteristics including skill level, sex, age, prior avalanche education, and residency in the Jackson Hole area. Safety practices were also measured against avalanche hazard forecasts. Correlations were assessed using Fisher's exact testing.

RESULTS:

A total of 334 participants were surveyed. Factors associated with carrying avalanche safety gear included higher expertise, being a resident of the Jackson Hole area, and prior avalanche education. Factors associated with having a planned route of descent included higher expertise and being a resident of the Jackson Hole area. Factors associated with recreating with companions included younger age and lower expertise. Sex had no association with any of the surveyed safety practices. Participants were less likely to carry avalanche safety gear on low avalanche hazard days.

CONCLUSIONS:

Certain individual characteristics of backcountry skiers and snowboarders are associated with increased frequency of adherence to recommended safety practices. These findings suggest that particular categories of backcountry recreationists may benefit from further avalanche safety education. The results of this study could help direct future educational efforts among backcountry recreationists.

KEYWORDS:

off-piste; out of bounds; sidecountry

PMID:
30213711
DOI:
10.1016/j.wem.2018.05.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center