Dave Merritt from Outside Ventures educated a crowd of 74 at Full Throttle Motorsports on safety measures in the back-country.                                 contributed photo

Dave Merritt from Outside Ventures educated a crowd of 74 at Full Throttle Motorsports on safety measures in the back-country. contributed photo

Large attendance for avalanche awareness seminar a good sign of shift in back-country culture

Full Throttle Motorsports offers free education for snowmobilers looking to stay safe this winter

As freeing as being in the wilderness – hundreds of miles from another soul in the dead of winter – can feel, carelessness can result in a deadly trap.

According to Avalanche Canada statistics, 11 people have died as a result of avalanches in British Columbia since 2016.

While Mother Nature can be unpredictable, back country aficionados can always prepare to give them the best possible chance of a safe return home at the end of their trip.

The first step is education.

Full Throttle Motorsports hosted a free avalanche awareness seminar at their shop on Nov. 8.

Seventy-four snowmobile riders attended the event, which was facilitated by Dave Merritt of Outside Ventures.

The seminar focused on terrain awareness, group decisions and safety gear. It was a solid refresher for those who possess avalanche skills training and an eye opener for those who don’t.

Merritt has spent many years doing mentorships in order to become a professional member of the Avalanche Association and is a strong proponent of safety in the back country.

He says these types of seminars are valuable for anyone. “There’s avalanche terrain within most city limits in British Columbia,” Merritt says. “I live in Prince George and we have avalanche slopes there.”

Many adventurers need to take into account they are putting more lives in danger than their own when taking unnecessary risks. This can include their travelling partners as well as search and rescue teams that get called if the worst occurs.

“If you’re traveling with a group of friends and you know what the risks are, you can have those candid discussions of whether you want to do it or not,” says Merritt.

“If you’re ignorant to what you don’t know or don’t want to learn it, then you’re putting yourself and everybody else at risk.

“We all want to enjoy the back country, we all want to enjoy the outdoors but we need to ensure that we have an understanding of the risks we’re actually taking.”

One of the key benefits from these seminars is they get people thinking and exchanging ideas.

“I had a lot of people come up and talk to me afterwards about potential risks they were taking where they didn’t realize things were risky,” Merritt says

It generated a lot of discussion,” he continues. “There’s a few of us around Western Canada doing these things and that’s what we want, for people to start having those discussions.”

Full Throttle’s owner Brad Dunn is a big advocate for snowmobiling, and is a director for the Wells Snowmobile Club. Avalanche awareness is something very important to him and the company.

His continued support of the sport is one of the reasons he was awarded the BC Snowmobile Federation’s (BCSF’s) Excellence Award for Outstanding Dealership this year. The local company won the award out of 77 nominees, the largest number of submissions in BCSF history, according to the Federation’s website.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The campground will be inside Quesnel, where the public works building used to be. (City of Quesnel Riverfront Plan)
Quesnel municipal campground project receives $500K in provincial funding

$20 million in funding was given to shovel-ready tourism projects across the province

A timing board was set up so skiers could record their own times. Savannah Robinson, who competes in biathlon as well, got a chance to test her skiing power. She came in second in the 20km classic race. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Cariboo Ski Touring Club ‘So-Lo-Ppet’ results

The Quesnel cross-country skiing group was forced to change because of COVID

Members of the Quesnel RCMP Detachment wore their best pink shirts to support anti-bullying efforts. (Back row – Constable Sean Terry, Sergeant Rirchard Weseen, Constable Bob Kalman, Constable Alyssa MacNeil Middle – Constable Doug Erickson, Patti Thompson, Cindy Osip, Constable Cody Brown Front – Dana Bouchard, Staff Sergeant Darren Dodge, Kellie Hipkin) (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel RCMP goes pink in effort to stop bullying

Officers and staff from the detatchment participated in Pink Shirt Day

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Jacob Bowden competes at the 2020 Provincial High School Rodeo in Quesnel. The Quesnel student was named to the provincial (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Jacob Bowden named to high school Cinch team

The Quesnel grade eight student was named to the team in 2020 as well

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read