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Monday August 10, 2020 Salt Lake City, UT

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Protecting Utah

Avalanche Awareness Week 2019

Friday December 6, 2019

This is part of our #UtahHazards411 ongoing series to teach Utahns about the hazards around our state and how to stay safe.

On average, 2.8 people die each year in avalanches.
In 2018, 4 people lost their lives.
It’s time to change that.


A map of utah depicting considerable avalanche conditions for various backcountry areas of
This is the current conditions map for Utah from the Utah Avalanche Center for Dec. 3, 2019, showing considerable risk for many Utah backcountry areas. Stay safe. Know before you go.

We love the outdoors. It doesn’t matter what season. Utahns like to be outside. Unfortunately, each season has a specific risk.

In 2019, the Utah Legislature created Avalanche Awareness Week to help Utahns recreating in the snowy backcountry come home safely. Avalanche Awareness Week happens on the first week of December each year.

From Dec. 2-7, the Utah Avalanche Center is hosting special events around the state to share in-person information for Avalanche Awareness Week.

Here are some simple tips to stay safe from avalanches:

  • Know before you go: Visit the Utah Avalanche Center to check avalanche conditions and forecasts for the backcountry areas you plan to visit
  • Learn from others: Check out the reading and training list by the Utah Avalanche Center
  • Get the gear: Always carry a transceiver, probe, and shovel in the backcountry to help you find a buried partner and be found.
  • Wear it: Always carry your gear on your body with your transceiver turned on.
  • Consider riding with an inflatable pack to increase your chances of staying on top of an avalanche.
  • Be aware of hazardous or changing conditions, such as recent avalanche activity, or changes in wind or snowfall.
  • Stay in your comfort zone and out of avalanche mitigation areas.
  • 1 at a time on suspect slopes.

Get more tips at Know Before You Go.

Search and rescue dogs from Wasatch Backcountry Rescue and their handlers pose for a photo
Search and rescue dogs from Wasatch Backcountry Rescue pose for a photo at the Utah State Capitol before a press event announcing Avalanche Awareness Week 2019.
Photo: Joe Dougherty, Utah DPS-Emergency Management
The Utah Department of Transportation conducts avalanche control using military howitzers, such as this one, which was on display during the announcement of Avalanche Awareness Week 2019. Photo credit: Joe Dougherty, Utah DPS-Emergency Management.

Joe Dougherty is the public information officer for our Division of
Emergency Management. jdougherty@utah.gov.

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