NATIONAL

Safety Issues Mount As Skiers Hit Backcountry In Pandemic

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Cameron French, from White Pine Touring, wears an Ascent 40 AVABAG avalanche backpack on Dec. 18, 2020, in Park City, Utah. With another ski season getting underway, avalanche forecasters and search-and-rescue groups are concerned that large numbers of skiers and snowboarders will again turn to the backcountry to avoid crowds and reservation systems at resorts. The increased interest in the backcountry has been a lifeline for the outdoor retail industry amid the pandemic, but it has also renewed a push among gear manufacturers and stores to sell responsibly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP) — Skiers and snowboarders flocked to the backcountry almost immediately after resorts across the country shut down last spring because of the coronavirus. The number of human-triggered avalanches skyrocketed as a result. Now, with another ski season getting underway, avalanche forecasters are concerned that the backcountry will again lure many people who are trying to avoid crowds or reservation systems at resorts. The increased interest in the backcountry has renewed a push among gear manufacturers and stores to sell responsibly. That could be recommending guide services, pointing customers to avalanche safety courses and telling them where to find local avalanche forecasts.

 

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