The Human Factor 2.0 – Karl Birkeland and Doug Chabot

Two of the leading snow-safety specialists in North America share their thoughts on skier responsibility in avalanche terrain

Read The Human Factor 2.0, the award-winning multimedia series on glory, risk, and survival in avalanche terrain, by David Page.

“I get the risk thing. I’m not going to judge. If someone gives you the information and you still are like, ‘Yeah, I’m going,’ then more power to you. That’s how great things get done. That’s how we get to be who we are. But is it worth dying for? Is it worth traumatizing everyone in my life who loves me?”

In The Human Factor 2.0, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Director Doug Chabot opines that skiers must be aware of the consequences of their decisions to explore in avalanche terrain. He and National Avalanche Center Founder and Director Karl Birkeland work side-by-side in adjacent cubicles in Bozeman, Montana, where they study snowpacks and investigate avalanches like CIA analysts.

In the above video, the two snow-safety experts stress that evaluating your partners’ decision-making in avalanche terrain is just as vital as collecting current snowpack data to make an informed decision of whether or not a slope is safe to ski.