Mt. Washington avalanche forecasters urge skiers to go home

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 11:56 AM EDT
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While backcountry skiing may continue at Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine, the Mount Washington Avalanche Center Monday issued its final safety forecast for the season and said those skiers that continue are putting potential rescuers at risk.

In a statement on their website, officials said the need to reduce exposure of workers and forest visitors to the coronavirus outweighs the value of providing avalanche safety information to backcountry travelers.

"We also acknowledge that the absence of avalanche and mountain safety forecasts increases your risk in the backcountry, but since backcountry travel is not an essential need at this time of pandemic, you assume this increased risk," Avalanche Center officials said.

Although Governor Chris Sununu's stay at home order allows for outdoor recreation, they say social congregation that has continued to occur in Tuckerman Ravine, nearby trails, and parking areas, suggest that more aggressive measures are needed. Although most facilities are closed, The White Mountain National Forest remains open.

In a Facebook post, Avalanche Center officials say more than 400 people came to Tuckerman Ravine Sunday with well over 50% of them arriving from out of state. They say cars filled the parking lot at Pinkham Notch and lined Route 16.

Just editing to clarify that people from "away" are not the problem. Backcountry travel, particularly in steep,...

Posted by Mount Washington Avalanche Center on Sunday, March 29, 2020

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