Sheriff Warns Against Backcountry Recreation

Sheriff Warns Against Backcountry Recreation
Posted on 01/29/2021
Sheriff Warns Against Backcountry Recreation

Minden, NV- The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents and visitors to practice caution when participating in outdoor activities in the snow and winter weather. The Sierras received several feet of snow this past week with more snow predicted in the upcoming forecast. This increased snowpack comes with risks to locals and visitors.  These risks include avalanche dangers and weather-related exposures to the cold. 

Please also be advised skiing out of bounds is against Douglas County Code (9.08.030 Skier duties) and endangers the participants, and those who assist or respond to someone who becomes injured or lost. The risks of going out of bounds include exposure to cold terrain, possible loss of assistance from resort staff, loss of communication, injury, and possible loss of life.  Areas out of bounds are often littered with downed trees, brush covered with snow, creeks, and steep slopes.  Avalanche dangers pose the most risk of injury or death. 

“Douglas County provides a place for many who enjoy outdoor winter recreation and we encourage it, but ask you to do it safely,” Sheriff Coverley said. “We have the potential to see avalanche danger, deadfall trees, sink holes, and you can get yourself in extreme danger if you travel off into a potentially unsafe area.”

Skiing out of bounds may not just endanger the participants, but can also endanger the lives of those who assist them when they become lost or hurt. The members of Douglas Search and Rescue (SAR) train all year, and are available 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours each day to support the Sheriff’s Office as needed for rescue calls.

The Sheriff’s Office would also like to remind people who recreate in the back country to limit activities to those that do not exceed any limitations you may have due to medical or physical conditions.

Some tips for safe outdoor recreation are:

  • A skier, having used a ski lift or surface lift of a ski area, must no ski under a manmade barrier that is designed to prohibit a skier from entering a closed portion of the ski area or from leaving any part of the ski area. For the purpose of this section, a barrier may be designated by roping off an area. Any skier that violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Stay on marked trails if hiking or snowshoeing
  • Know your limits and plan your outdoor activity level accordingly
  • Carry a basic first-aid kit with you
  • Use protective gear
  • Be alert for slippery areas
  • Don’t mix alcohol and outdoor recreation

"We don’t want to see anyone get into a bad situation. Individuals can become seriously injured, lose their life, or have to incur the cost of an expensive rescue,” said Sheriff Coverley.