The SnowBrains Podcast | Episode #4 | “What’s The #1 Tool Available To Skiers & Riders in Avalanche Terrain?”

SnowBrains |
The SnowBrains Podcast – Episode #4 – Mark Staples, director of the Utah Avalanche Center

The SnowBrains Podcast is brought to you by Alta Ski Area

Last month we proudly announced the launch of “The SnowBrains Podcast.“

The SnowBrains Podcast has already broken into the top 20% of all podcasts, and we’re honored.

This week, we bring you episode #4 with the director of the Utah Avalanche Center, Mark Staples:

Mark & Miles truly connect on having lost loved ones in the mountains, being tolerant in the busy backcountry this Coronavirus season, and learning from mistakes in the mountains.

“Imagine as you’re diving home thru the neighborhood and you’re going just 25mph, which seems kinda slow, right? Stick your head outside the car and nail a mailbox with your head and your neck. You can imagine how that would feel and that’s what’s gonna happen in an avalanche. 25mph is nothing, they’ll be going 60mph.” – Mark Staples

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Episode #4:

“What’s The #1 Tool Available To Skiers & Riders

in Avalanche Terrain?

Mark Staples – What’s The #1 Tool Available To Skiers & Riders in Avalanche Terrain? | Brought to you by Alta Ski Area
“Imagine as your diving home thru the neighborhood and you’re going just 25mph, which seems kinda slow, right? Stick your head outside the car and nail a mailbox with your head and your neck. You can imagine how that would feel and that’s what’s gonna happen in an avalanche. 25mph is nothing, they’ll be going 60mph.” – Mark Staples
Mark Staples is the director of the Utah Avalanche Center. Mark was a professional ski patroller at Big Sky Ski Area in Montana before earning a Master’s degree in Engineering at Montana State University as part of their Snow Science Program. Mark wrote his thesis on the energy balance at the snow surface and weak layer formation. After grad school, Mark worked as a backcountry avalanche forecaster for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in Bozeman, Montana. Mark has an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Virginia. Mark is also a passionate skier, snowmobiler, ice climber, and a father of 3.
 
In this episode, we will be discussing all things avalanches.
 
Mark & Miles truly connect on having lost loved ones in the mountains, being tolerant in the busy backcountry this Coronavirus season, and learning from mistakes in the mountains.
 
Mark Staples answers these pivotal avalanche questions:
  • What’s the #1 tool available to backcountry skiers & riders in avalanche terrain?
  • What’s your opinion on the effectiveness of avalanche airbag backpacks?
  • If you met someone who was planning on backcountry skiing or riding for the 1st time this season, what advice would you give that person?
  • How fast do avalanches travel?
  • Why is it important to report avalanche accidents and observation to your local avalanche center as soon as possible?
  • Are big groups or small groups better in avalanche terrain?
  • When is the most dangerous time to backcountry ski & snowboard in Utah?
  • What percentage of avalanche accidents are caused by avalanches triggered by the victim or someone in the victim’s party?
  • How long can you survive buried in an avalanche?
  • Does early season snow cause dangerous weak layers in the Utah snowpack that can last all season as it does in Colorado?
  • How does having over 1 million people so close to great backcountry skiing and riding in such consequential avalanche terrain affect the Wasatch backcountry?
  • More…
 
Please enjoy!
 
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This episode is brought to you by Alta Ski Area, home to the highest annual snowfall in the Rocky Mountains.
 
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The SnowBrains Podcast Episode #4 – Mark Staples, director of the Utah Avalanche Center
 
Recorded on October 21st, 2020 in Santa Cruz, CA (Miles) and Salt Lake City, UT (Mark Staples).
 
This episode was edited by Robert Wilkinson.
 
Music by Chad Crouch.
 
Host, producer, and creator = Miles Clark.
The SnowBrains Podcast.  image:  Sasha Motivala

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3 thoughts on “The SnowBrains Podcast | Episode #4 | “What’s The #1 Tool Available To Skiers & Riders in Avalanche Terrain?”

  1. To go or not to go, smart decision making, wise choices thus intelligence is the #1 tool to prevent bc avalanches.
    S-NObrains is the last tool ya want as well as ego and hubris derrrrr….but cant fix stupid even with level 10 avy courses…..

    1. So what you are saying is to avoid interfering with or intruding upon the backcountry? I like it.
      Stay out of the backcountry everyone.

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