Increased avalanche danger across the region

Credit: Deren Martinez/KTVB

Increased avalanche danger across the region

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 13 at 7:17 PM

BOISE -- Experts tell us the risk for avalanches will only get worse as more snow is expected this weekend.

We found out there are dozens of avalanche trained ski patrolmen at Bogus Basin.

KTVB talked with one of them about the dangers, and how to be prepared.

Senior patrolman Roarke Nagler has national avalanche training.

On Thursday, he showed us some of the tools everyone should carry if you're skiing or snowmobiling in an area with a risk of an avalanche.

He says anyone adventuring in the snowy wilderness should have a shovel, probe pole, snow saw, and tracer.

Nagler says right now the wet, heavy snow means a greater chance for a slide.

He says they have closed the gate for a backcountry area, so that there's less risk of a skier triggered avalanche that could slide down to a groomed slope.

It's an issue affecting areas across our region.

In the past week, six people have been killed and two injured by avalanches in the Northwest.

In the Sawtooth National Forest, the avalanche risk right now is considered considerable.

In the Payette and Boise national forests, the danger is moderate.

There have been several avalanches this week in the out-of-bounds area on Bald Mountain in Sun Valley.

"You get a very heavy layer on top of less heavy layer, they don't bond well," said Nagler.

Nagler says the best advice is to not go if you're not prepared.

"The most important tool to bring to backcountry is this tool right here (pointing to his head), you need to understand what you're doing, understand the risks and make conscious decisions as to where you are at and how you want to proceed," said Nagler.

About 20 percent of the Bogus Basin Ski Patrol has avalanche training.

They tell us at all times, there are several experts with that knowledge available at Bogus.

For more information from the Payette Avalanche Center, click HERE.

For more information from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, click HERE.

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