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How to stay “Avy Savy” on the slopes

IDHAO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - As more skiers, snowboarders and thrill junkies hit the slopes, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center is reaching out to help them be "Avy Savy," highlighting the dangers of adventuring into the back-country

"As people are pushing further and further back into the are your own rescue team," State Parks East Region Trail Specialist Brian DiLenge said. "People need to be educated on the equipment they should carry and how to use that equipment."

In the last 20 years, the overwhelming majority of back-country avalanche accident deaths in the state were snowmobile related. But that's not to say it can't happen to anyone.

It's important to have the proper gear anytime you venture off the beaten path.

"Unfortunately, in the last four years, there have been seven people that have died in avalanches in this region," Sawtooth Avalanche Center's specialist Ethan Davis said. "Six of them either did not have a beacon and a beacon that did batteries or a beacon that was off and their pocket."

"Out of the last seven people that died, six of them didn't have the necessary rescue gear to keep themselves safe."

Local skiers, snowboarders and such might assume that backcountry accidents are more common among tourists or people unfamiliar with the terrain. But the reality couldn't be more different.

 "It's people from Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Preston. Those are the folks that are dying in these avalanches. And that's what the data shows. Nearly all of the people that died in avalanches in Eastern Idaho were within 100 miles of where they lived. They're all local," Davis said.

A very simple but effective way to stay safe is to have your beacon charged, signed in and know how to use all safety equipment

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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