On February 24, 2021

Decision making can save your life

Dear Editor,

Since late January, there have been 22 avalanche deaths in America across 16 incidents in nine states, including a death in New Hampshire. It’s been one of the most deadly periods in recorded history.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to see people get killed doing something they love. It makes these deaths very hard to wrap your head around.

I still feel that way about our son, Ronnie Berlack, and his U.S. Ski Team teammate, Bryce Astle, who died in a 2015 avalanche on a glorious powder day in Austria. They didn’t have the avalanche forecast and they didn’t know the dangers when they wandered off piste.

I speak for both the Berlack and Astle families in expressing our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the avalanche victims. The grief is crushing. It’s long term, as we think of our children everyday and how things could have been different for them.

The one constant in avalanche deaths is decision making. Do you understand the forecast? Do you truly feel safe to ski? Is there a plan and will you stick to it? Are you prepared to encounter others who may impact your safety?

If you want to venture into the backcountry, do it safely. Get the education you need. You’ll find an education index at our website: brassavalanche.org. Understand the forecast. Make conservative decisions like your life depends on it. Because it does.

Steve Berlack

Chairman, BRASS Avalanche Safety Foundation

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

The magical mythical equalized pupil

May 15, 2024
By Tom Evslin Editor’s note: Tom Evslin, of Stowe, is a retired high-tech entrepreneur. He served as transportation secretary for Gov. Richard Snelling and stimulus czar for Gov. Jim Douglas. The Vermont Legislature is playing an expensive shell game — and planning worse. The “equalized pupil” is the shell under which the pea is hidden.…

Tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to protect the Connecticut River

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, It has been 12 years since the relicensing process began for five hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River, and until May 22, there is an opportunity to comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The last time these hydro facilities were licensed was in 1979, and once the new licenses are issued,…

UVM, don’t punish student protesters

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, As a pastor, I feel it is my professional and moral responsibility to speak to the crisis of conscience facing our nation and state. As of this writing, the civilian death toll in Gaza stands at around 34,654 according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. A third of these casualties are children. I do…

H.289: Good intentions on renewables but one big flaw

May 8, 2024
By David Bittersdorf Editor’s note: Dave Blittersdorf is the president of All Earth Renewables in Bristol. The Vermont General Assembly — in attempt to move the state to 100% renewable energy — is making changes to how the state’s utilities buy energy. Within the next couple of weeks, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will consider…