Utah has the Greatest Snow on Earth. Utah also has some of the greatest avalanche danger in the world, within sight and only minutes away from where most of us live. Avalanches kill more people each year than any other natural event in Utah.
On December 26, 2003, a massive avalanche swept off Mt. Timponogos. 14 people out hiking and snowboarding the day after Christmas were caught up in the slide and 3 died. This didn’t have to happen – the danger signs were obvious to those who understood avalanche danger. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the Know Before You Go program was born.
Most of the avalanche fatalities in the U.S. and Canada occur to people who don’t know they are in avalanche danger and are unprepared to deal with an avalanche. Just as those in Hawaii learn about the dangers of rip tides and shore breaks at an early age, students in Utah need to learn about avalanches. What they learn can save their lives. The Know Before You Go program was created to teach Middle and High School students the basics of avalanches - how destructive they are, when and where avalanches happen, and what they can do to protect themselves.