Backpacker Radio #182 | Ethan Greene, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, on All Things Avalanche Safety

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Ethan Greene, who is the Director at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. We of course dive deep on everything related to snow safety in the backcountry including some basic tips people need to be safe during avalanche season, the most common mistakes people make in the backcountry related to avalanche safety, what to do if you’re caught in an avalanche, and much more.

We wrap the show with a new backcountry meal critic (mac and cheese edition!), we go over some of the details from the first article from our 2022 AT thru-hiker survey, we do a triple crown of our top backpacking predictions for the new year, a glorious listener poop story, and more.

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Interview with Ethan Greene

Time stamps & Questions

00:04:51 – QOTD: What hopes do you have for 2023?

00:10:57 – Reminder 1: Subscribe to the Trek’s newsletter to stay tuned for the Badger sponsorship

00:11:47 – Reminder 2 & 3: Apply to blog for the Trek and shop our shorts!

00:12:36 – Introducing Ethan 

00:13:20 – Tell us about your background in outdoor sports

00:14:01 – Have you always had a fascination with snow in particular?

00:15:47 – Can you tell us about ski joring in Leadville?

00:17:28 – Have you lived in the Rockies your entire life?

00:19:00 – How do you go from knowing you like snow to getting a doctorate in snow?

00:22:08 – Is there a rough estimate of how many people in the world have PhDs in snow?

00:23:33 – How have winters in the Rockies changed over the past 30 or 50 years?

00:24:54 – When are avalanches at the greatest risk for happening?

00:25:52 – If you’re a backpacker, what are the safety basics of avalanches?

00:29:37 – What is the data about who gets trapped by avalanches?

00:31:08 – What resources do you recommend people look at?

00:33:10 – True or false: if you’re covered by snow, spit to see which way is up

00:35:03 – What steps should you take if you’re in an avalanche?

00:37:45 – Describe what movement through the snow is best

00:39:38 – Is a certain type of activity more likely to trigger an avalanche than others?

00:43:30 – What are some standout moments from your childhood or career?

00:45:28 – Have you ever been in an avalanche?

00:48:55 – Are there any myths about avalanches that aren’t accurate?

00:49:37 – How common are avalanches that haven’t been forecasted?

00:50:45 – What area is notorious for frequent avalanches?

00:53:12 – Do the icier conditions in New England change the avalanche likelihood?

00:54:12 – Does the direction of the mountain face impact the avalanche likelihood?

00:56:07 – Can you talk at all about dangerous snow features like cornices and crevasses?

00:58:37 – What conditions made 2019 such a big avalanche year?

01:01:15 – What kind of manpower goes into cleaning up avalanche debris?

01:04:04 – Should we consider avalanches when skiing and snowboarding at big resorts?

01:05:29 – If someone is interested in getting into the avalanche field, what’s a good path for them?

01:08:48 – Do you feel a profound sense of boredom in the summer?

01:10:29 – What is some avalanche lingo the commoner wouldn’t understand?

01:12:02 – Is there any question we didn’t ask that we should have?


Backcountry Meal Critics: Backpacker’s Pantry

Trek Propaganda

Mail Bag

Triple Crown of predictions for 2023

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