Still hungry for some powder turns after Friday night's storm, we decided to take full advantage of the backcountry gates located at Canyons on Sunday. The access to the backcountry from Canyons is one of the biggest selling points for us local Park City people. For expert skiers and riders, and those who have the necessary knowledge and backcountry equipment, the 9990 lift puts thousands of acres of powder skiing at your disposal. Please be aware though, this terrain is not controlled by ski patrol. As it clearly states on Canyons trail map, "Backcountry terrain is not part of the ski resort. You are leaving the ski resort when you go through the backcountry exit points. The backcountry is not controlled for safety, and people have died in the backcountry. Avalanches are common in the backcountry. Skiers and riders leaving Canyons' boundaries do so at their won risk. Backcountry skiers/riders should carry a beacon, shovel and probe. Never ski/ride alone. Read posted signs and warnings about the backcountry before proceeding. Call the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center at 1-888-999-4019 for further information about backcountry conditions."
Here is a link to the backcountry.com website http://www.backcountry.com/store/search.html?mv_session_id=JbsKyogS&aff=1&q=beacon+ . Here you can purchase your beacon, probe, shovel, pack and avalung. Once you've purchased your equipment learn how to use it. None of this equipment can help you avoid an avalanche, all it's designed to do is help you survive one. For those of you looking to practice your beacon skills be sure to check out the beacon park located just feet away from the Red Pine Lodge at the Canyons. Even on a day like today where the avalanche forecast was low to moderate there were way too many people out there without the necessary equipment. Remember, when you're not prepared, not only do you put your own life at risk but you put others around you at risk as well.
During the next couple of weeks, I will post another blog with pointers on how to stay safe out in the backcountry. But for now, make sure you have the proper equipment, make sure you know how to use it, and absolutely make sure you've checked the avalanche forecast before you venture out. it's the first thing I read every morning regardless if I'm skiing or not. You can learn a lot just by reading the Avalanche Advisory every day.