It has been more then a month since I have posted and I have some big news coming up that I had planned to be my next post. But over the holidays while I was hunkered down with family watching the snow fall and fall- listening to the symphony of avi bombs in the morning itching to get out and ski…the seriousness of big mountain skiing and the risks that go with our big mountains was realized with the loss of two locals Bill Foster and Steven Mark Anderson both taken by avalanches.
My heart goes out to their friends and family. We lose people too soon, too young in ways that don’t make sense. Today I decided the best way to honor both of these men is to practice our skills, stay educated and stay informed.
The advisory is a great way to get info on the snowpack stability- even if you are skiing inbounds- you are still affected by snowpack…you have just had the luxury of Ski Patrol managing as much as they can…that does not mean every risk is mitigated. So knowing the conditions whether skiing in or out of bounds especially if you ski off trail is ALWAYS a good idea.
You can never have too much knowledge and knowledge is power!
Avalanche Transceiver Workshop- FREE, Transceivers PROVIDED!! The 1st and 15th of the month led by the experience professionals of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol. Call to reserve your spot! 530.581.7260
Babes in the Backcountry is an all women weekend. Sierra College and Lake Tahoe Community College offer avalanche awareness classes for college credit! NASTC and Alpine Skills International offer weekend classes at Donner Summit and Slide Snow School offers a great weekend class at Mt Rose. For a complete list of Avalanche Awareness Classes http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org/education. You can also get great info from these following websites. www.avalanche.org and http://www.avitraining.org
If you do nothing else PRACTISE! Bill was located by his team in a minute and dug out in 8 minutes! Check in with your patrol and see if they have practice beacons. At Squaw they bury a couple beacons off the Shirley Lift so you can practice pinpoint search on skis, which is more realistic then running around the base area in boots looking for a beacon on flat ground…Avalanches typically don’t happen on flat ground.
For some great overall knowledge check out the latest video from High Fives BASIC
A huge thanks to the ski patrols that day after day makes our mountains safer. And gratitude to the team at the Sierra Avalanche Center for providing the data that allow us to access the backcountry with more knowledge, the pits you dig and the info you provide is invaluable!
Beacon Up, Buddy Up- Stay Safe and have a fun winter!