“Stuff happens really quick,” avalanche survivor Matt Entz said while describing the scene displayed on a video board above him. Entz had found himself barreling down a mountain head first, with snow piling up around him. He was able to get his hands free and start digging himself out, but its experiences like that that made Entz and others want to start the Avalanche Alliance.
Avallanche Alliance was started about three years ago after the team lost a friend to an avalanche. Entz and Dan Adams, along with special guest and six-time world champion hill climber Andy Thomas, hosted an Avalanche Alliance Seminar at the Klim booth at Hay Days. They spoke about getting the proper training needed to have the skills and know-how to properly execute an avalanche rescue. There were 36 avalanche deaths in the United States in 2020. Nine of those were snowmobilers. Entz and Adams hope to lower that number.
To raise money, Avalanche Allliance is currently running a sweepstakes with a grand prize of a a custom 2022 Lynx Boondocker 850 with a Fly Racing Snow Gear Package and Ortovox Safety Package. The drawing will take place on Dec. 11, 2021.
Entz and Adams encourage riders to take an avalanche safety class so you can have the skills needed to save lives. Both Entz and Adams teach classes.
While Entz has multiple experiences getting caught in an avalanche, Adams shared his experience from the other side, rescuing one of his best friends caught in an avalanche.
Adams and eight or nine other friends were riding when a 150-yard wide avalanche started uphill from them. Adams was in a fortunate spot, but his friend, Jason, wasn’t. Adams attempted to get to Jason before the avalanche could, but had to turn away at the last second and Jason was covered.
Back then, Adams didn’t have the proper avalanche training. It was a time when the topic wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. He didn’t have batteries in his transceiver and it took him several tries to get his probe set up. Luckily, within just a few tries they probed Jason’s helmet and dug him out.
Thomas, much like Entz, once found himself caught in an avalanche. He knew the conditions weren’t great and was warned it wasn’t a good idea to go out, but ignored those warnings. He and his friend told themselves that the trees were safe and that they would be okay.
Thomas was partially buried in an avalanche and thought he had buried his friend. They both made it out okay, but it woke Thomas up to needing to be prepared. He suggests doing three things before going out on a ride. First is to check your equipment, battery life, etc. to make sure everything is up to speed and ready to go. Next, he suggest having a plan on where you’re going to ride. Finally, Thomas says you should plan around the least experienced rider in the group.