ESPN launched a new series today on what they refer to as The Avalanche Problem. It’s a 6-part series discussing avalanche education and awareness in the growing use of the backcountry. The series will take place over the next eight weeks as the ski season approaches.
The series started today with release of the series, with stats, links to avalanche stories, and two well-written posts, the Intro: Why Now?, and Part 1: The Lives They Lived, including a gallery of photos of the 34 skiers, snowmobilers, and snowboarders that were killed by avalanches in the U.S. last season.
My friend, Timothy Baker, was one of those people included in the gallery. Timmy was killed in an avalanche last season while snowboarding in Canyons sidecountry. ESPN included his picture and a quick bio.
Part 1: The Lives They Lived discusses a series of fatal avalanches last season, focusing on a slide that killed three well-known skiers near Steven’s Pass, Washington. The writer, Megan Michelson, was skiing with the group when the slide claimed the lives of Jim Jack, Chris Rudolph, and Johnny Brenan. She also writes about two other Utahns killed last season, Jamie Pierre, a pro skier, and Alecsander Barton, a recent graduate of the University of Utah.
There are a lot of similarities in the group of avalanche victims. Over the past 50 years, the average avalanche victim is 33 years old. 90 percent are male. Last year’s victims had an average age of 36, with 96% of them male. But the biggest similarities are found when looking at each victim’s lifestyle. From the article,
They were all unique characters, of course, their passions and ideas different from one another. But they all lived a certain kind of life, one filled with adventure and high-altitude air.
They were ski patrollers, forest rangers, students, contractors, heli-ski guides, environmentalists, professional skiers, bloggers, firefighters and more.
My friend Timmy was a few years younger than the average victim, but his enthusiasm for snowboarding fits the mold.
I got a little choked up reading the first part of the series. I’m really excited for the upcoming posts.
Check it out. It could save your life, or a life of a friend.