Educate yourselves on the backcountry and help keep it open to all |

Educate yourselves on the backcountry and help keep it open to all

C.J. MuellerBreckenridge

What has inspired me to hunt-and-peck is the AP “deadly avalanches” story in the Jan. 19 edition.The opening sentence of the story was an insult. I don’t know any backcountry skiers who do it “for the chance to recount nervy tales of outdoor machismo.”Who was the author of this drivel, and why was it printed?The story is not a sensible plea for avalanche awareness education, but a cynical opinion that winter backcountry users don’t care to educate themselves.But the worst part of the story is that it brings up once again the idea of closing the backcountry, mostly so “authorities” don’t spend thousands of dollars on massive rescue efforts.If Utah (and Colorado) want more laws concerning backcountry rescue, why not a law that requires back country users to be insured?A Colorado hunting or fishing license includes rescue insurance. There also is a certificate available where most hunting/fishing licenses are sold that includes rescue insurance.It may not save your life, but it might keep the “authorities” from continuing to make the backcountry less accessible. If someone without insurance is rescued or recovered, then the “authorities” can recoup their costs from victims or victims’ estates. Avalanches will continue to kill. If you can’t afford a beacon, wear an avy cord. If you don’t know what an avy cord is, maybe you don’t know enough about avalanches to go backcountry. People die on Interstate 70 driving to and from Denver. How about this for an opening sentence to a story about shopping in Denver: “For the chance to recount nervy tales of indoor machismo, many bargain-hunting shopping enthusiasts will risk nearly everything.”

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