Social Factors and Risk Assessment
This past February 19th, 16 highly experienced skiers and snowboarders, making up an impromptu group, attempted an out-of-bounds run near Stevens Pass, Washington.
These expert skiers had read the avalanche forecast and were thoroughly familiar with the dangers posed after a 32-inch snowfall, yet they went ahead.
The ensuing avalanche killed three.
The New York Times has created a stunning visual presentation of the event that is a must see. When you do, substitute “collapse”, “flash-over” and “interior firefighting” for “avalanche” and “skiing”. Ask yourself if you would make the same risk assessment. Ask yourself if you would behave differently.
Several skiers survived, one because of the deployment of personal protective equipment. Their experiences are crucial because they spotted and heeded the signs ahead.
Warning: Don’t click on the link unless you are prepared to be pulled into a gripping vortex of words, sights and sounds. We can all learn from their experience.
(Credits: NYT and Alan Ross)