Family prepares for avalanche danger, before skiing the backcountry

Feb 26, 2023, 8:27 PM | Updated: 8:47 pm

Utah’s backcountry is about to get extra dangerous over the next few days due to the upcoming storm hitting Utah Sunday evening.

But that isn’t completely stopping one Utah family from going out to ski.

“Yeah, it’s been such a good year. Storm after storm. It’s been constant fun,” said Tristan Stotesbery with a laugh.

“Yeah, we got more coming in the next couple of days,” added Amoz Stotesbery.

The Stotesbery family loves the back county, and they live for going out to ski it. So, Tristan and his father, Amoz, are now teaching his younger siblings the ropes of proper backcountry safety.

“Got your beacon?” asked Tristan to one of his siblings. “And then we should all check out your signal.”

It’s what the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center is asking people to do as they prepare to head out, especially as coming snow will cause things to shift.

Stotesbery family checking their gear. (KSLTV/Mike Anderson) Amoz and Tristan 
Stotesbery. (KSLTV/Mike Anderson) Amoz Stotesbery getting his gear ready for the back county. (KSLTV/Mike Anderson)

“It’s going to be a multi-day event. So we expect that avalanche danger to remain elevated through at least mid-week, if not further,” explained Craig Gordon, forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center.

Gordon said he is warning them to stay away from steep, wind-drifted slopes as the danger could become high in the coming days.

“The problem is it is going to pack a powerful punch, with strong winds, dense, heavy snow, so a lot of water weight. And that’s going to put additional stress on our snowpack,” he said.

But to the Stotesberys, if you put in the work to be safe, then it’s all worth it.

“Earning your turns is what they say, but I think that’s a big part of it for me, and also just getting away from the crowds,” Tristan said. “There’s not a feeling like it. It’s great.”

The Utah Avalanche Center has a website for the latest conditions before heading out to the backcountry. They ask all backcountry skiers to have a beacon, a probe, a shovel, and possibly an airbag.

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Family prepares for avalanche danger, before skiing the backcountry