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January 11, 2019

Vermonters urged to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors this weekend






Department of Public Safety urges Vermonters to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors this weekend



WATERBURY, Vermont (January 11, 2019) — Recent snowstorms have been a welcome sight for outdoor enthusiasts, but cold temperatures this weekend will increase hazards for those who venture into the backcountry. 


Thursday night, a skier near Jay Peak became separated from his group and spent several hours in cold and windy conditions until he was located and brought safely out of the woods by rescuers.


Skiers, riders and others headed outdoors are encouraged to follow some basic safety precautions, including:


Do not leave the ski area boundary

Many problems are caused by people skiing or riding past signs and under barriers into remote and unpatrolled terrain, and then being unable to get back to the resort. Just because there are ski tracks heading into the woods doesn’t mean it’s OK to follow them.


Be prepared if you are venturing into the backcountry (off trail backcountry skiing is not the same as lift served in bounds resort skiing)

- Bring a pack with extra clothes, food and water.
- Don’t go into unfamiliar areas unless you have a map, compass and a plan for your route.
- Do not go alone, and if traveling with others keep the group together at all times.
- Tell somebody where you are going and when you plan on returning.
- Go early in the day while there is plenty of daylight. The last run of the day is not the time to head into the woods.
- Cellphone coverage can be spotty or nonexistent in backcountry areas, so don’t plan on that as your safety net. If you do bring a phone, keep it on airplane mode and store it in a pocket close to your body to keep it warm so it’s ready to go with plenty of battery life in case of an emergency.


Be aware of the weather and snow conditions.

- Plan your trips around adverse weather. Temperatures may not get above single digits in the mountains this weekend, so consider saving that outdoor adventure for more favorable weather.

- If you venture outdoors be sure you have plenty of warm layers, and all exposed skin is covered.


For additional cold weather safety tips, see this page from the Vermont Department of Health (  



For more information please contact:

Neil Van Dyke
Search & Rescue Coordinator
Vermont Department of Public Safety


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