Avalanche educators grapple with social media’s influence on backcountry travelers | SummitDaily.com

Avalanche educators grapple with social media’s influence on backcountry travelers

Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Arapahoe Basin patrollers and a rescue dog take part in a recent Beacon Bowl at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Earlier this month, the International Snow Science Workshop brought to Breckenridge dozens of snow science and industry avalanche experts.

BRECKENRIDGE — Emery Rheam's video showed teenagers spinning backflips into deep powder blanketing an avalanche starting zone on Teton Pass in Wyoming.

The thousand people watching in the Breckenridge conference center — snow scientists and guides gathered last week for the annual International Snow Science Workshop — winced, shook their heads and grumbled.

Those kids, Rheam said, raced down the slope and posted their exploits online, feeding a game of one-upmanship that puts them in competition not just with each other, but the entire internet. It's a scenario that plays out on social feeds, but has real-life consequences that worry avalanche forecasters and educators.

It's too easy for an older generation to pooh-pooh social media. That's especially common among graying avalanche forecasters and educators who often sit in judgment of what they see in movies and on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com.