Avalanche Safety

Know Before You Go
Be Prepared

Get the Gear

When playing in the winter backcountry around Valdez it's best to travel with someone who has avalanche knowledge. Many locals are well verse as Valdez and the Valdez Avalanche Center put on many avalanche clinics each winter. You will need at least 3 items with you when out in avalanche country.

The Prospector in Valdez rents avalanche gear, KNOW HOW TO USE AVALANCHE GEAR. First you will need a beacon, this allows others to find you and you to find them if they get buried. Not having a beacon doesn't just put you at risk of not being found. Those you head out with might assume you have a beacon to find them if they get caught in an avalanche as well. Second is a probe, these are like tent poles but stronger and designed to puncture snow and some ice and find those buried under it. Third is an avalanche shovel. Other gear include airbags, avalungs, and assessment tools.

Get some training on how to operate these before heading out.

Avalanche Safety in Valdez, Alaska
Bear viewing at Solomon Gulch Hatchery, Valdez, Alaska
Be Prepared

Get the Forecast

The Valdez Avalanche Center offers great forecast on the area around Valdez to help you asses the snow conditions before you get out on the slopes. You still need to evaluate the snow loads when out in the backcountry at all times.

Part of avalanche forecasting is being mindful of the red flags. These red flags help increase the chances of avalanches one is all you need to trigger an avalanche but the more that are present the higher the risk become. Recent temperature changes, wind loading, weak layers, heavy snowfall or raining, signs of unstable snow such as cracks forming or recent avalanches.

Try not to head out alone.