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.
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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.