The New Backcountry Snow Test You Need to Know

Mar 3, 2010
Outside Magazine

If you're a safety-savvy backcountry skier, snowboarder or other traveler, there are a few snow-stability tests you know. Traditional tests are designed to show you the weak layers in the snow, but often they don't show you the likelihood those layers will propagate into a big avalanche. Now there's a solution. 

About a year and a half ago, snow scientists began educating the public on a new snow test called the Extended Column Test (ECT). My friend Steve Casimiro tipped me off on these two videos that demonstrate it. Read more about it and Steve's interview with one of the originators, Karl Birkeland of the U.S. Forest Service National Avalanche Center in Bozeman, Montana at his The Adventure Life blog. Always good to have one more tool in the toolbox. 

--Kate Siber

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