Picture this: you are marveling at the pristine beauty of the mountain ranges when the ground shakes beneath you.
Instinctively, you look up.
An enormous wall of snow is rushing towards you at tremendous speed.
Stuff of nightmares.
What Is an Avalanche?
An avalanche is a mass of unstable snow, rock, and debris that collapses under its own weight and then moves quickly down the side of a mountain, gathering mass as it moves. Avalanches can weigh hundreds of thousands of tons and move at over 100 miles per hour.
By the time even the smallest avalanche reaches the end of the slope, it has the collective momentum of 400 freight trains.
All in all, it’s a pretty exciting near death experience, if you can arrange one for yourself.
Who Should Be Prepared?
As you have probably suspected, the most avalanche-prone regions in the US are located in the Rockies. According to National Geographic, about 100,000 events occur every year in the USA. Sorry, ski bunnies!
Anytime you’re in the mountains while snow is on the ground, an avalanche is possible, but you should be especially wary if you are in the locations highlighted below. Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, hiker, or snowball fighter, it’s worth being aware of the risks and taking some precautionary gear with you on your journey.
In this guide, we’ll get you fully prepared so you can stay safe during an avalanche: