The Risks and Rewards of Ski Patrol - A Conversation with Jake Hutchinson

Drew Hardesty
In this podcast, we talk with long time and now retired Canyons ski patrol director and head of snow safety Jake Hutchinson.  Jake has also been chief instructor for AAI (American Avalanche Institute) and is now general manager at Gym Jones.  Jake has been a long term member of Wasatch Backcountry Rescue and along with Dave Weber, run AAI's multi-day professional rescue seminar.  In this conversation, Jake details what it requires to be in snow safety at a ski area, particularly as it relates to personal risk while out on the slopes. Jake was the head of snow safety during an in-bounds avalanche accident December 23, 2007 that resulted in a fatality but also the save of a fully buried 12 year old boy.  Jake calls it the absolute worst and best day of his long career.  We talk with Jake about this event and the long and contentious lawsuit that followed.  The outcome of the lawsuit set an important precedent for ski areas across North America.  We also explore the long term effects of this event upon those involved.  Listen in -

Supplementary articles can be found in The Avalanche Review and Ascent Backcountry Journal.  The UAC avalanche report can be found here.
A very good account about an individuals admission about his feelings when involved in a death not of your making. I believe companies should require any employee to seek treatment after these types of incidents. I know from experience employers are reticent to require treatment because of the stigma of seeing a therapist but as a society we need to get past that stigma. It has been too long seen as a weakness in people.
Willis Richardson
Sun, 2/3/2019
Excellent interview- thanks
Sun, 2/3/2019
Great podcast. The honesty and introspection was amazing. Thank you
Sun, 2/3/2019
As a member of WBR and as a patroller at a neighboring resort I can’t express enough how much I appreciate this interview and his openness about the situation. I have learned a lot from Jake over the years but this by far has been the most honest discussion in regards to our profession, it’s challenges, rewards and risks. Much appreciated.
Tue, 2/5/2019

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