Friday, March 8, 2013

Zeroing In On Safety: AIARE’s Project Zero Sets Sites On Reducing Avalanche Deaths To Nil

There’s never been an easier time for riders to earn their turns. Manufacturers, retailers, and the media are increasingly catering to riders with a thirst for fresh tracks. Yet the resulting proliferation in backcountry users has brought new challenges, as not all of these riders are properly prepared. To unite the industry in addressing this challenge, the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is launching Project Zero. This initiative aims to reduce avalanche fatalities to zero by delivering a consistent avalanche safety narrative.
“We’ve reached a tipping point that consists of a lot of people in the backcountry, more manufacturers making backcountry gear available, and a resultant uptick in avalanche accidents,” explains AIARE Director of Operations Tom Murphy. “The industry wants to create a corresponding safety message with the equipment it’s selling—and that’s where Project Zero comes into play.”
Throughout SIA’s Snow Show, Murphy hosted a series of seminars to introduce Project Zero and solicit feedback. These seminars resonated with those in attendance, like Jon Easdon, the owner of Blindside in Colorado Springs. He explains, “It was definitely one of my favorite things at SIA. When I saw the seminar I felt it was all inclusive—it felt like everyone was on board.”
In addition to collaborating with manufacturers, SIA, the media, and retailers to deliver an effective and consistent message, Project Zero aims to create a central resource for backcountry and avalanche safety information. Having resources, such as video tutorials, available through a web-based, educational portal is a primary goal.
Currently, AIARE is working to raise awareness and funding for Project Zero. Murphy emphasizes that it’s an exciting time for the initiative. He explains, “With the right stakeholders involved and the right educational components, we can do something that’s never been done before and make a difference.” [story by transworld business]
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