Snow science and modern forecasting today can tell us where we’ll find the danger. Education can train us on the risks. But what ultimately causes avalanches is our own human management. Noted author Heidi Julavits explores the human psyche through her own participation in a level 1 avalanche training class in this insightful New York Times Magazine piece: What I Learned in Avalanche School. Click to read, or pickup the Sunday, January 5 New York Times.
When Ryan shifted the conversation to “avalanche problems,” we perked up, maybe because the term would seem provocatively redundant, the avalanche itself being the primary problem. But no. Ninety percent of human-avalanche encounters, Ryan said, are triggered by humans, making humans the primary avalanche problem. Nature doesn’t kill people with avalanches. People kill people with avalanches.