words and photos: T. Bird
As snowboarders, we are constantly beckoned into new territory, as the confinement of ropes and boundaries ultimately forces us to wonder what lay in wait outside the borders of your local ski area. It doesn't matter if you're riding a 500' molehill or a 12,000' behemoth. Avalanches happen in any terrain, given the perfect situation of weather, snowfall and slope angle and that's why we all need to be educated before going out of bounds. Pat Moore, a New Hampshire native turned Salt Lake local as of recent, recognized that as a pro snowboarder with massive reach due to his efforts in the backcountry, that he has an obligation to spread the good word of safety when it comes to avalanche awareness. That's why he partnered up with Brighton Resort this past weekend to host an avalanche refresher course to any and all that wanted to kick the season off with a little classroom and field training to simply get in the right mindset before the snow started to really fly.
Together with Jared Winkler and members of the Brighton Snow Safety and Utah Avalanche Center sect, Pat invited his friends up to Brighton on Friday night to sit in for a four hour classroom assembly in the Millie Lodge, where multiple speakers conducted an evening of education via slideshows, videos and question-and-answer sessions before heading out into the Brighton backcountry early on Saturday morning. Many of Pat's friends—riders like Bode Merrill, Mike Ravelson, Chris Grenier, and Danimals—made the trek up the access road to listen to guys like Trent Meisenheimer of the Utah Avalanche Center, Chris Stowe, Brighton's head of Snow Safety and Chris Coulter, Wasatch legend and former pro snowboarder turned guide, talk about the factors in which avalanche hazard should be recognized. There was a lot of information throughout the weekend, but the main thesis is that avalanches are a threat any time that you go through the gates of a resort or set out on a tour in uncontrolled territory, so if any of the above applies to your style of riding, make sure to educate yourself before setting foot off-piste because it's your responsibility—and no one else's—to have at least a basic knowledge of how to use snow safety gear and how to travel safely in the backcountry. For more information, visit www.avalanche.org and find out how to get yourself enrolled in a class in your area. Big thanks to Pat Moore, Jared Winkler, Chris Stowe, Trent Meisenheimer, Chris Coulter, Max McNeil, Tony Pavlantos and everyone at Brighton for an awesome experience in the Wasatch. Stay safe this winter and make it one to remember by educating yourself. That's the key to a future of good winters.