Skiing & Riding Safety

In light of the recent tragedy involving a UVM student, and with the continued risks of deep snowpacks, the UVM Director of Outdoor Programs would like to extend the following message to all students in the winter sports community:

"Given the amount of recent snowfall, the current conditions and deep snowpack (especially in steep terrain) require a heightened awareness when skiing & riding. Whether you are skiing/riding inbounds at local ski areas or in the backcountry, objective hazards exist, including avalanche conditions and tree wells. Please read more here:

http://www.powder.com/stories/the-safe-zone/how-to-prevent-snow-immersion-suffocation/#yX4KIEyl5UFZ8IlI.99

Suggestions to keep the fun & safety factor high in the coming days:

  1. Ski/ride in groups of at least three whenever possible. In case of a tree well, immersion or slide, you will most likely have necessary human resources for assistance. In case someone in your party is involved in an incident beyond your ability to help, one person can stay with injured party and another can be available to go get help.
  2. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Skiing and riding in deep powder snow is what we live for as snow sports enthusiasts. Save skiing in steeper, high-risk terrain for a time when snowpack is more settled. Take an avalanche education course if skiing in these areas is a goal for you.
  3. Always let friends know where you are going if exiting the boundaries of a ski area or are planning trip into the backcountry. Share details such as your destination and planned time of return. Call them when you exit the woods to let them know you are safe. If you don't know the area or what to do in case of an emergency, don't go. 
  4. Always bring a phone, map, emergency contact info, and the proper gear. If in VT and emergency occurs, call 911.  You should also have food, water and extra insulating layers should there be an injury, someone gets lost, or if you end up needing to stay with them for an extended period of time. 

Remember: Good decision making on your part avoids having to put others in potential danger in coming to your rescue. As responsible UVM student skiers/riders it is always important to think of the downstream effect of our actions.

As is the case when any member of our community passes away, we are bound to feel a profound sense of loss, and reactions are felt in a variety of ways. If you or someone you know is in need of additional support please do not hesitate to contact UVM’s Counseling and Psychiatry Services at (802) 656-3340 or reach out to us here.