As we approach another winter, and the familiar dangers start to reappear, it’s worth revisiting this article written by backcountry expert Neil McNab.
Within the last six months at least five prominent figures pushing the sport of big mountain riding on both skis and snowboards have died in freeride related incidents.
All were experienced mountain users at the top of their sport. They had the knowledge to err on the right side of caution and they knew how to read the signs. But conditions in the mountains are somewhat unpredictable, and accidents happen!
So are these latest unfortunate incidents simply a product of the law of averages? Does more people in the backcountry – on steep and exposed terrain – mean more accidents will occur? Or are attitudes towards safety in the mountains changing?
“Are attitudes towards safety in the mountains changing?”
Getting into the mountains is quicker than ever – and with new knowledge we can pinpoint exactly where to be the day after the storm hits. But are we taking too many risks along the way?
The rule of the mountains used to be: ‘leave them for a day or two following a big storm, let the mountain have its day’, and it makes me wonder if today something is missing, forgotten or maybe brushed aside in the race to get there first to score the steepest lines and get the freshest tracks…