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With the recent snowfall and more on the way, it is a good reminder to be aware of avalanche potential and educate yourself on pre-emptive steps to take before going outside to recreate.

In our community, we have two historical avalanche zones, one in Third Creek drainage (terrain above upper Jennifer St., Sutro, Bidwell, Lunar, and Mercury Courts) and one in Crystal Bay (terrain above Lakeview Ave., Tuscarora Rd., and Teresa Court). But avalanches can occur anywhere when the right conditions exist.

When avalanche conditions warrant an alert notification, residents can expect a notification from Washoe County Emergency Management via a reverse telephone notification called Code Red. To receive these notifications (and other alert notifications), register at Washoe County Alerts & Warnings.

Do not travel in the backcountry unless:

  • You know where and why avalanches occur.
  • You have checked the avalanche forecast in our region. Visit the Sierra Avalanche Center.
  • You carry rescue gear and know how to use it.
  • You have learned to recognize the five red flags of an avalanche.
  • At the very least, take an avalanche awareness course. Seriously consider taking an avalanche rescue course. Local education providers can be found here.
  • For avalanche information for our region, visit Washoe County Advisories – Avalanche.

Remember, the best tip is to “Know Before You Go,” the avalanche danger rating is only a starting point. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel. See this clip from our recent interview with KPIX-TV CBS affiliate in San Francisco.