Finding a voice of reason, hearing that voice, and basing decisions on that voice is deeply complex, especially in avalanche terrain. Blase Reardon and Doug Stenclik discuss the nature of finding the religion of dialing-it-back.
Episode 107 features Blase Reardon, the Director of the Flathead Avalanche Center in Northwest Montana. Reardon has deep experience in the avalanche forecasting realm, having worked at the Sawtooth Avalanche Center and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Dialing up the TDP time machine, Reardon first appeared on the podcast in 2015, where they discussed such things as the STFU skintrack. You can find that episode here.
A highlight of episode 107 isn’t a breakdown of the snow science but a real-deal unpacking of our complex decision-making processes in the backcountry. The season, not unlike many others, has been rife with unstable snowpacks in some regions and the uneasy quest to find safe, stable, and carefree skiing. With this in mind, Doug and Blase discuss their time together in Carbondale as Doug’s local crew tries to stack the deck in their favor knowing that it is still house rules in avalanche terrain.
What evolves in this episode is a conversation gem where we get insight into how Doug began assessing his backcountry decision-making and subsequently dialed it back. The key here is knowing that maybe you’ve dialed it up too far and stepping back before an avalanche incident occurs. This is an episode many can learn from as there are some sobering lessons learned. Please be safe and find the joy in low-angle skiing when conditions warrant.
The Episode Breakdown
2. Open season – skiing anything in good snow.
3. A relative bump in the number of backcountry skiers.
4. Othering in the backcountry.
5. Young and brash.
6. The Wrecking Crew.
7. Blase asks the question: when did Doug get religion?
8. Classic biases in the backcountry.
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While most of the WildSnow backcountry skiing blog posts are best attributed to a single author, some work well as done by the group.