DEC warns of avalanche danger in the Adirondack High Peaks Region

New York State

A file photo of an avalanche (Getty Images).

NEW YORK (WWTI) — Outdoor adventurers are being warned of the risk for avalanches in the Adirondack High Peaks Region.

On Tuesday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos advised backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain to in the Adirondacks be prepared for avalanche conditions.

According to the Commissioner, these hazardous conditions are a result of recent winter weather accumulations as the High Peaks have received approximately five to six feet of snow.

“Recent storms have resulted in a significant amount of new snow and we are expecting an increase in the number of recreational enthusiasts visiting the High Peaks to snowshoe, cross country ski, or simply enjoy the pristine surroundings,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC is cautioning anyone headed to the Adirondack High Peaks region and planning to ski, snowboard, or traverse backcountry slides and other avalanche-prone terrain to be extremely careful and prepare for avalanche conditions.”

The DEC stated that avalanche danger increases during and immediately after major snowfalls and during thaws. As snow accumulates over time it develops distinct layers formed by rain and melt and freeze cycles. When new snow falls onto previous snowpack, it adds weight and downward pressure. Lower snow layers may be reactive to the added stresses of recent snows, increasing these risks.

The Department urged backcountry adventurers to take the listed precautions when visiting an avalanche-prone terrain:

  • Remain on trails and away from steep slopes on summits
  • Know the terrain, weather and snow conditions
  • Dig multiple snow puts to conduct stability tests
  • Practice safe route findings and safe travel techniques
  • New ski, board or climb with someone above or below you-only one person on the slope at a time
  • Ski and ride near trees, not in the center of slides or other open areas
  • Always carry a shovel, probes, and transceiver with fresh batteries
  • Ensure all members of the group know avalanche rescue techniques
  • Never travel alone
  • Always inform someone about where you are going

For more information on avalanche danger and safety precautions, visit the DEC’s website.

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