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Some believe that backcountry skiing in below-freezing conditions is unsafe



Montana – Although backcountry skiing is quite popular in Montana, Search and Rescue advises taking a brief break due to the bitter cold.

Ryan Merkel, the manager of the Roundhouse, disagrees.

“I think today it would be a phenomenal day to get outside. The air is cool, it’s cold, it’s crisp, clear. The snow is phenomenal,” says Merkel.

Merkel thinks that people visit Montana because of the excellent skiing conditions this week. He still understands the dangers.

“Definitely want to cover all exposed skin,” says Merkel. “I think layering is very important. Make sure you’re not over-exerting in sweating.”

Due to potential risks, Search and Rescue Commander Scott Secor advises refraining from backcountry skiing for the next few days.

“We have some of the coldest temperatures that we have experienced in a long time,” says Secor. “We’ve got considerable avalanche danger, and it’s the shortest day of the year. So I would say today and tomorrow are probably the two most dangerous times that a person could venture out into the backcountry.”

According to Decor, there is a substantial risk of hypothermia and frostbite. According to him, hypothermia can develop in as little as 14 minutes if you become stranded. But if you do choose to go out, he has suggestions to make it safer.

“Go out with multiple partners, wear layers so you know, not just one or two but multiple layers because you’re gonna get cold today. You know, warm gloves, food, and water that kind of thing,” says Secor.

Despite the poor conditions, Secor claims that search and rescue is always available to assist.

“Our team is ready to go 24/7 regardless of the conditions, we just have to be more cognizant of the danger,” says Secor. “So today we are also concerned with the avalanche conditions and the temperatures.”

Merkel stresses the significance of keeping track of time while skiing because he is aware that the days are short.

“Not only is it a time of getting out into the backcountry, you also need to judge that time coming back to your vehicle or back to your house,” says Merkel. “So you really need to pay attention to the time that you’re outside. The exposure that you have.”

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