In 2001, when Caroline Gleich was 15 years old, her half-brother Martin died in an avalanche while skiing in the Utah backcountry. That tragedy didn’t prevent Gleich from becoming a professional skier—quite the opposite—but it has led her to develop a unique approach to managing risk. The truth is, avalanches are largely predictable: they only occur on certain slopes and under certain conditions. The problem is that such slopes and conditions coincide almost perfectly with the most fun skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry. This often leads people to make dangerous decisions, especially when they’ve been lucky so many times before. In this second episode of a two-part special exploring our relationship to the hazards of avalanches, Gleich talks about her long journey to becoming comfortable in the backcountry and how she believes we can stack the odds in our favor, even in the most unpredictable environments.
This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Lake Hartwell Country, a largely undiscovered region in the mountains of South Carolina that’s one of the best adventure playgrounds anywhere. Visit lakehartwellcountry.com to start planning your trip now.