Avalanches are deadly. They kill more people on public lands than fires, lightning, floods or any other natural event. In the last 10 years 114 snowmobilers have died in avalanches in the United States. Triggering a slide can be terrifying. Getting caught is horrific. Digging out your partner is hell. Assessing snow stability is a difficult skill that’s never mastered. Like every avalanche forecaster I spend most of my days studying snow, yet I still sometimes get it wrong.
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