Learning from the Accident
A detailed accident report on the January 5, 2015 avalanche that claimed the lives of two young U.S. Ski Team athletes in Soelden, Austria has been released by the Bryce and Ronnie Snow Safety Foundation (BRASS). The report is similar to those in other industries, such as aviation, designed to use the accident as a platform to educate others. It was compiled by avalanche experts, including longtime Utah Avalanche Center expert Bruce Tremper. It includes information from official reports, along with analysis by avalanche experts and recommendations for action steps.
Accident Report is a Tool for Learning
The January, 2015 accident was a tragedy that claimed two lives and deeply impacted family, friends, teammates and an entire sport. But what’s most important to those touched by the incident is that there are learnings to be shared with others to educate them so that accidents like this don’t happen again.
Evolution of Avalanche Warning Communication
One of the key findings of the report is a need for stronger communication of avalanche warnings. This includes myriad areas from greater understanding of the avalanche warning scale used around the world, understanding fundamental differences in slope management around the world, more multilingual signage at resorts and a cultural shift to get team leaders, athletes and recreational skiers to pay more attention to warnings.
Advocacy for Education
The accident also highlights the need for greater education of team leaders, coaches, athletes and recreational skiers on avalanche safety. Education programs presently exist but are not widely utilized. BRASS will use its platform to advocate for training of team leaders, coaches, athletes and recreational skiers, working in concert with educational providers.
Role of BRASS
BRASS was formed to grow awareness of the need for snow safety reform and education. It will continue to lobby within the ski industry for snow safety engagement, as well as serving as a strong advocate for snow safety education, working in partnership with existing educational providers.