Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism

Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Lee Banville

Committee Co-chair

Ray Ekness

Commitee Members

Lee Banville, Ray Ekness, Keith Bosak


avalanches, journalism, media, montana


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences | Environmental Studies | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration | Sports Studies


Backcountry avalanche deaths are rising across the United States. Despite better

backcountry recreational equipment and better education, skiers, snowboarders,

snowmobilers, and ice climbers succumb to avalanches more often every decade.

Avalanche courses are taught by Forest Service centers around the country and

improvements are made to transceivers to help find those buried in avalanches. But

weather is fickle, and the snowpack is variable. Researchers don’t know how many

people are going into the backcountry, or even where they go – hence the term

“backcountry.” So can they only provide education and information to help curb

avalanche deaths? Or will recreationists continue to die a white death?

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© Copyright 2015 Abbey Dufoe