Avalanche School trains youth to spot the dangers

Published: Jan. 2, 2017 at 2:54 PM AKST
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The Alaska Avalanche School held its backcountry 101 course at Alyeska in Girdwood, Monday, with teenagers interested in venturing past the slopes professionally monitored for Avalanche dangers.

“There’s more people going to the backcountry, there’s more people recreating the outdoors in general,” said Mountain Guide Elliot Gaddy.

The introductory course is tailored for youth and focuses on usable skills for traveling safely, recognizing avalanche red flags, reading the terrain, self-help and backcountry rescue techniques and good decision making.

“Our biggest number one goal is having kids identify avalanche terrain in some of the red flag warning signs that would alert them to the fact that there’s an avalanche hazard present,” said Gaddy.

Thirteen-year-old Salomon Donnelly says he took the course because he’d like to go skiing with his friends in the backcountry someday, “If they do get lost or in the snow you can find them easily before they die,” he said.

In addition to more advanced avalanche courses, the Alaska Avalanche School recommends those interested in skiing the backcountry take a first aid, CPR and navigation course.