Per our ongoing mission here at WildSnow to help everyone improve their backcountry skiing safety judgment (including our own), we’re interested in a decision making process the Canadian Center is calling their “Avalanche Decision Framework for Amateur Recreationalists” or ADFAR for short. Latest development in this is their “Avaluator” decision support card. To see how it works, browse on over to their online tool. It’s somewhat simplistic, but that’s no doubt by intent. It appears the idea is to get people thinking through their decision to a solid endpoint “go or no go,” rather than letting dozens of “human factors” block good judgment.
Let’s hope this leads to an intensive avalanche safety course for “experts” that’s 100% about decision making. I could see something along the lines of an intensive two day seminar, one day indoors and one day in field. The indoors day would be devoted to actual self-help style behavior modification to get us looking at the danger/decision paradigm from different angles — to start the process of forming habits that enhance avalanche safety. Field day would be a time to apply what we learned out in the snow, with partially simulated decision making scenarios that challenge our bad habits. Show me where to sign up.
Avaluator and associated booklet will soon be available at outdoor retailers.
Canadian Avalanche Center provides a huge collection of avalanche safety content, including excellent online training.
To find out how at-risk you are, don’t forget our own effort at online education, and take our “will you get caught?” quiz
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.