Truth. What gets us in trouble with avalanches is ourselves. Black Diamond did a reasonable job with branded content covering the basics of “human factors.” About time we covered here, backstory for next winter or perhaps you’re in the southern hemisphere just gearing up for a winter of skiing. Last winter down there was devastating, let’s hope better news is enjoyed this season.
The video series is a bit disjointed and short, but perhaps brief is good. I was impressed at what they’re using to illustrate these educational videos. Wonderful to see a company go all-in on the safety aspect. As they should. The seemingly endless tragic litany of backcountry skiing avalanche accidents — every winter, a funeral dirge — has become a deeply dark side to what is otherwise beautiful modern ski mountaineering. I’ll admit I’m troubled by it all.
As I’ve written about many times, it appears 1.) Many skiers simply don’t know or acknowledge how much risk they’re actually taking. 2.)Human factors cloud our thinking and judgment even if we do perceive the risk. 3.)Perhaps the only way to stay responsibly safe while ski touring is to use set procedures of decision making, instead of blundering. Watch these short films over and over again. Train your mind. Then evaluate your own behavior each time you touch avalanche terrain.
I attempted to organize below so we have a blog post for viewing and discussion. Suggestions and comments welcome. I’m not sure how the powers that be intended all this stuff to integrate together, but over at the alter of freeride, you can view a good multimedia exposition of human factors.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.