Elevate Your Backcountry Safety


With the Jackson Hole backcountry continuing to see increased use this winter, the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation is amplifying its efforts to stress the importance of safe and responsible backcountry use.


As the ongoing pandemic has created shifts in behaviors and added new stresses to everyone’s daily outlook, the foundation is urging all backcountry users to be extra cautious, patient and respectful.



Highlighting these efforts is a short film (above) from Backcountry Zero, a project of the TCSAR Foundation, which aims to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in the Jackson Hole backcountry. Called “Check Yourself, Check Your Friends,” the film is sponsored by the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board and emphasizes the importance of doing safety checks. As history has taught us, taking shortcuts in the backcountry—even those that seem small and insignificant—can have deadly consequences. The film complements the numerous outreach and educational efforts that have become a staple of Backcountry Zero.


“We know that people are traveling to Jackson Hole this winter to recreate in the backcountry,” said Matt Hansen, TCSAR Foundation communications manager.  “Our goal with ‘Check Yourself, Check Your Friends’ is to remind them to not let the stresses of the pandemic cloud their judgment, and to make sure they run through their safety checks.”


“Check Yourself, Check Your Friends” is a call to action highlighting four critical steps every time you head into the backcountry:



  • Pack the essentials, and know how to use them.


  • Do a proper beacon check.


  • Be patient and show respect toward others and the environment.


“Check Yourself, Check Your Friends” was shot and produced by KGB Productions and Backcountry Zero and features Jackson skiers Morgan McGlashon, Daniel Tisi and Riis Wilbrecht.


“There is a critical need for locals and visitors to elevate their backcountry safety this winter due to the unprecedented challenges caused by Covid-19,” said foundation Executive Director Stephanie Thomas. “With our hospital and first-responders already stressed from the virus, we need to make sure that backcountry users don’t add unnecessary weight to the system.”


“With the virus adding multiple layers of decision-making, it’s more important than ever
to be prepared, practiced, present, and patient.” – Matt Hansen


For more information to learn about furthering your backcountry education, or to find an outfitter, please visit BackcountryZero.com.




With Jackson Hole Mountain Resort limiting daily skier capacity due to Covid-19, the wilds of Jackson Hole will be an attractive option for many people. But it’s critical that such enthusiasts don’t let the pandemic cloud their judgment in an unforgiving, uncontrolled environment. To that end, using a professional guide may be your best bet.


Whether you’re a newbie anticipating your first trip into the backcountry or a veteran backcountry skier, adventuring in the solitude and beauty of the Teton backcountry with experienced guides—such as Exum Mountain Guides—is strongly recommended. Exum offers backcountry skiing and snowboarding in a variety of terrain. You can choose from several iconic Teton backcountry tours: Mt. Oliver and Mail Cabin Creek, located near Teton Pass, or 25 Short, a valley favorite, with awesome views, open slopes and spacious glades in the Grand Teton National Park backcountry, or Albright Peak.


Contact Exum Mountain Guides to discuss these and many other options for your backcountry adventure.


Traveler Tip: Most backcountry guiding outfitters provide all your necessary avalanche safety gear and will explain how to use it. Call ahead to check on what’s included exactly, such as backpacks, lunch, snacks, or powder ski rentals (you’ll need powder skis). We do not recommend backcountry skiing and riding on your own unless you have completed avalanche and safety courses and have extensive experience.

Julie Butler

Julie Butler is the editor of Jackson Hole Traveler. She has been making a living for many moons as a journalist, newspaper and magazine editor, and national magazine copywriter. The mother of four adult children, she relocated from Connecticut to Jackson Hole in 2014, ago after being a loyal visitor for 20 years.

No Comments

Post a Comment