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Backcountry and Utah Avalanche Center Launch Snow Safety Education Initiative

rygr October 14, 2020

The Utah-based organizations will make avalanche education initiatives accessible to all in advance of the backcountry ski season


PARK CITY, Utah (Oct. 13, 2020) – Backcountry, the online specialty retailer of premium outdoor gear, accessories and apparel, announces today that it will partner with Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) to provide backcountry users of all levels with accessible avalanche education resources. The goal of the initiative is to make it as easy as possible for both experienced and novice backcountry users to find local experts, virtual and in-person education opportunities and specific information for their area. 

“We saw a huge surge in backcountry travel last spring due to early ski resort closures. Our local areas, like Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyon, were overwhelmed with the number of Backcountry users, and at one point we saw 42 human-triggered avalanches in two days,” says Nicole Sumner, senior marketing manager at Backcountry and UAC board of directors secretary. “We want to make sure our customers and mountain communities are well-equipped with the skill-sets and knowledge they need to safely enter the backcountry.”

Backcountry will work with the UAC, as well as several brand partners, including Black Diamond, Ski Utah, Dakine, and Thule to promote easy access to educational resources for all backcountry skill levels. Backcountry will host several livestreams, including a “Know Before You Go” (KBYG) presentation from the UAC, which is a simplified, basic avalanche awareness course. KBYG is ideal for entry-level users as it teaches the destructive power of avalanches, including when and how they happen and the best ways to avoid them. The program has reached over 200,000 Utahns since its inception in 2005, and the UAC attributes the slight decline in avalanche deaths over the last 20 years to this broad reach. According to the UAC, avalanche fatalities have not increased due to the accessibility of improved safety equipment and local avalanche forecasts, as well as more readily available avalanche education tools like KBYG. Backcountry will feature a “Know Before You Go” Instagram livestream on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 at 5 p.m. MDT.

“With some resorts planning to limit capacity this season, we’re expecting one of the busiest years for backcountry use we’ve ever seen,” says Chad Brackelsberg, executive director at UAC. “As such, it’s crucial that we’re adequately equipped to deliver forecasting, education and awareness for the anticipated increase in new backcountry users this winter. Working closely with partners like Backcountry will be key for reaching those new user groups and making sure they have access to avalanche safety resources.”


Backcountry will also provide detailed information on avalanche safety equipment through their “Get the Gear” web page. This page will include a “Backcountry Essentials Kit” that will outline all of the necessary gear, why you need it and how to use it. Backcountry aims to provide equipment that hits a range of price-points, with the goal of making safety equipment accessible for both entry-level and experienced users. They will feature a “Get the Gear” Instagram livestream on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 at 5 p.m. MDT in order share pertinent details on each item and provide a forum for questions. Finally, Backcountry will provide an assortment of “Season Tune Up” tips for the upcoming winter with educational resources on how to hone your skills and practice before the snow starts falling. They will Instagram livestream the “Season Tune Up” event on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020  at 12 p.m. MDT.

For more information on Backcountry’s avalanche safety initiatives, please visit:

To access Backcountry’s livestream events, please visit on the dates listed above. 

About Backcountry is the leading online retailer of premium outdoor gear and apparel for skiing, snowboarding, biking, climbing, fly fishing, hiking, camping and more. Founded in the Park City, UT area in 1996, Backcountry connects people to their passions by offering the best selection of outdoor products, backed by knowledgeable, responsive customer service from its Gearheads and rapid fulfillment out of its two warehouse hubs.

About Utah Avalanche Center

The Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) provides avalanche forecasting, education and awareness across the state of Utah. From November to May, the UAC provides daily avalanche forecasts to eight geographic regions: Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake, the Uintas, Provo, Skyline, Moab, and the Abajos. Each season the UAC reaches over 8,000 Utahns with their avalanche awareness and education programs. The UAC currently has 14 employees with 300 years of combined experience who are committed to saving lives through avalanche forecasting, education and awareness. Over the past 40 years of operation, the UAC’s expert staff has become well-respected leaders in this field, working alongside avalanche experts from around the U.S. and the world to develop the most effective approach to eliminate avalanche fatalities. The UAC strives to make avalanche awareness easily available to all user groups.

Media Contact:

Katie Hostetler, rygr

(970) 924-0704, ext. 108