NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Due to weather conditions constantly changing, the Department of Environmental Conservation has advised those venturing around the Adirondacks to be mindful of the risk of avalanches. Avalanche activity has already been observed this season.

“After several spring-like days, the return of winter weather is exciting for skiers, snowboarders, and other winter recreationists,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “But with that change in weather comes some serious risks, including that of avalanches in our High Peaks region. For the safety of backcountry visitors and our Forest Rangers, it’s important that winter sports enthusiasts take these conditions seriously and come prepared with the knowledge and equipment needed to enjoy the snow safely.” 

Avalanches can occur when snow, slop, and weather combine to create the proper conditions and can occur on open terrains. According to the DEC, winter recreationists should take the following precautions when traveling in avalanche-prone terrain:

Ensure all members of the group know basic avalanche rescue techniques; 

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers should stay on trails and away from steep slopes on summits; 

Know the terrain, weather, and snow conditions; 

Dig multiple snow pits to conduct stability tests. Do not rely on other people’s data; 

Practice safe route finding and safe travel techniques; 

Never ski, board, or climb with someone above or below you–never expose more than one person at a time to avalanche-prone slopes; 

Ski and ride near trees, not in the center of slides or other open areas; 

Always carry a shovel, probes, and transceiver with fresh batteries; 

Never travel alone and always inform someone about where you are going and when you expect to return home. If you are planning a trip to an avalanche-prone area, do research ahead of time or contact a DEC Forest Ranger or local guide to find out more information.