Canadians and Americans Agree: A Unified Avalanche Danger Scale

It’s not that they ever disagreed, it just hadn’t been completed. Now, for the first time Canadian and American avalanche centers have created a unified danger scale, with hopes of eliminating ambiguity, which will be implemented this winter.

Before the A.M.G.A, American guidelines for mountain guiding certification remained murky. Guides traveling throughout the country and the world now rest assured that their training has been conventional. The new Canadian and American avalanche danger scale will acheive a similar standardization. Guides, patrollers, and recreationalists will all use the same ratings; a scale which should eliminate uncertainty.

With travel advice, the danger level, likelihood of avalanches, plus size and distribution information, the new danger scale should make all backcountry travelers more educated, so they are making better decisions.

“It was especially encouraging to work closely with our Canadian colleagues to come up with a unified scale. This will only help in our efforts to promote avalanche forecasting consistency and to improve safety for the many people who recreate in the backcountry in both countries” according to Karl Birkeland, the U.S. lead on the project and an Avalanche Scientist with the USDA Forest Service National Avalanche Center.

So this year when you travel up to Whistler, eh, the information will be presented identically to the Yankee version you follow back home in Gnarsville, U.S.A.


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