Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
QUARRY NIGHT DATE CHANGED, NOW THURSDAY DECEMBER 7, 6 PM
Colorado WildSnow outer local’s reminder: Here on Western Slope, Cripple Creek Backcountry here in Carbondale, Colorado will host “Quarry Night”
November 29, 6 pm(meeting is at the ski shop). Agenda is for snowsports folks to connect with operators of the marble mining operation that maintains the road accessing one of our go-to ski touring locales. Bear in mind that the quarry could probably close the road to the public if they were so inclined, due to “public safety” concerns our politicians and law enforcement officials would doubtless cave to. Conversely, the quarry has done major work on creating safe public parking and additional traffic turn-outs, for which they should be profusely thanked. Thus, confabbing with the quarry managers and safety directors is of great benefit. If you ski “Marble,” mandatory attendance! Drinks and apps provided. Avalanche forecasters and other involved parties will also be there for your edification.
News roundup pre Thanksgiving 2017:
This seems to be the year that educational content and other robust “reader service” offerings are being seen, more than ever, as part and parcel to marketing campaigns. A good thing, in my opinion, though with the plethora of offerings in what’s ultimately a zero sum game, pie slices might get pretty thin. Check out a few items I found.
Arcteryx is offering a stunning number of clinics in the Wyoming Tetons. Offerings range from Women’s Intro to Backcountry Skiing to Advanced Ski Touring with Hoji. Details here. We’ve heard they’ll also offer a Beginner’s Intro to Skiing with Hoji, contact for details.
How about our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry? In the interest of moving the needle on ski mountaineering racing, they’re always up for more work. They’ve got two “Ski Mountaineering Camps” scheduled here in Colorado at their ski shop and local resort Sunlight Mountain. We’re a bit light on snow these days in our home region, the exact type of season when “skimo” can be the perfect way to get on your planks and have fun. More, they’ve also got a camp happening that’s specific to backcountry. All will be presented by experienced racers and ski mountaineers, including Joe Howdyshell of Summit Endurance. (Reminder, Cripple is offering Thanksgiving package deals that help avoid fiscal crippling, check their website for that as well as info about their Camps.
Backcountry Access has made education a part of their business since the Middle Ages of avalanche safety. This season they’ve released a strong series of ‘basics’ videos that are worth watching for anyone at any level of experience. This goes nicely with our avy safety focus this season, honing foundational principles and habits that are all too often overlooked due to distractions such as snow crystal studies, or basic mistakes at the trailhead.
A blog post like this would be worthless without mentioning basic “academic style” avalanche safety education. If you so much as lightly touch uncontrolled snow, take a course. American Avalanche Association is a starting place for finding a avy course near you.
Years ago, when our lives weren’t quite so hectic, we volunteered with Mountain Rescue Aspen. We hope to once again become members but in the meantime, we participate in their annual Avalanche Safety seminar, a reasonable priced, two day refresher on basic skills and local snowpack. Check with your local Mountain Rescue chapter for similar offerings.
We are proud of our WildSnow guest bloggers who are involved with backcountry education:
Sarah Carpenter is co-owner of the American Avalanche Institute and an AMGA certified ski guide. In addition to teaching full courses, she shares tips on WildSnow:
The Utah Avalanche Center recently posted a four minute video re-eactment of an avalanche rescue. It’s well done and gives a vivid sense of a recovery:
Lastly, in terms of general education I’d assign newcomers to reading all ~4,000 of our blog posts and pages, but that might take all your ski time. Instead, a focus on avy safety is a good start. Try browsing using our ski touring categories, or dialing it in directly to our Avalanche Safety category.