Utah December 04, 2017
Here Are The 9 Most Dangerous Things About A Utah Winter
After a nice, mild fall, it looks like Utah may finally be heading into winter. Depending on how much you like the cold and snow, this might be good news…or you might already be yearning for the summer months. Regardless of your opinion, Mother Nature is forging on into the frosty, snowy months ahead, and there are some dangers that you’ll want to watch for as winter unfolds.
1. Snowy, Icy Roads
Everyone knows to slow down and drive more carefully when the roads are snowy or icy, but some people just insist on learning the hard way. That four-wheel-drive vehicle certainly comes in handy when it's time to power over the snowbank at the end of your driveway, but it won't help you stop any faster on the ice.
The pollution trapped by our winter inversion has gotten so bad in recent years that school children stay inside for recess, and those with asthma and other medical conditions find themselves at the emergency rooms more often. Pregnant women are advised to avoid breathing the air during periods of inversion, too. Snuggle up indoors, or plan a trip to Southern Utah or up into the mountains where you'll be above the inversion.
Most Utahns aren't in much danger when it comes to avalanches, but if you're a skier or boarder, you'll want to pay attention. Stay on the groomed runs and take those avalanche warning seriously. Back country skiers should be experienced and carry beacons, a shovel and emergency gear.
4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
This silent, deadly killer takes Utah lives more often than it should. If you have a carbon monoxide leak in your home, you might not even know it - the gas is odorless. Symptoms include headache, nausea, chest pain and dizziness. It you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, get out of the house immediately! To prevent this scenario, ivest in a carbon monoxide detector and make sure to change the batteries twice a year.
5. Outdoor Activity Injuries
Everyone has at least one Utah friend who's had knee surgery after tackling a ski run they couldn't quite manage. To avoid injury, match your activity with your skill level - don't hop on a double black diamond run the day after your first ski lesson. Wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding; every year the ski patrol carries people down the mountain with serious head injuries from crashing into trees.
6. Your Snow Shovel
This seemingly innocuous implement has caused many a Utahn serious injury and even death. If you're out of shape and you try to clear the driveway of six inches of heavy snow, you may find yourself laid out flat. The emergency rooms fill up with heart attack victims due to snow shoveling. If you're not up to the task, hire someone to help you, or buy a snow blower. Either is cheaper than three weeks in the critical care unit.
Just last winter, a hunter got caught in a blizzard in Box Elder County. He dug a snow cave and survived until rescuers found him, but he ended up losing both hands. Other people have slid off remote roads during blizzards and had to fight for survival in their cars before being rescued. Pay close attention to the weather forecast, and make sure that you have adequate clothing and supplies in case of bad weather.
8. Dangerous Trails
The photographer who took this photo has a scary story. This is the trail to Delicate Arch, and though it looks like it's simply snow-covered, it was actually all ice that day. The man and his hiking party noted that off to the side of the trail was a sheer drop-off. They decided to head back, but many people would have tried to forge on. Even Delicate Arch isn't worth death or serious injury. Use common sense when hiking Utah's beautiful trails in the winter.
9. Falling In Love With Utah's Winter Beauty
This year, get out and enjoy Utah's spectacular winter scenery. Be safe and take the appropriate precautions, but also make sure to take your camera - the views are incredible. What's the danger? You'll be ruined for life. You'll never want to leave the Beehive State and if you must, you'll miss it every winter for the rest of your life. As far as we know, there's no cure for this condition, and prevention is futile.
What other winter hazards have you experienced in Utah?
While it’s cold and snowy, you may as well get out there and enjoy Utah’s natural beauty!
Snowshoe on this pretty trail this winter.