In an effort to promote safe travel in the backcountry, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) are hosting the third annual Freeride Avalanche Summit, a unique blend of instruction that combines the expertise of industry-leading avalanche forecasters with the experience and influence of local, professional athletes.
“With an increase of skiers and snowboarders venturing into the backcountry, it is more important than ever to be educated about the hazards presented by uncontrolled terrain,” said Craig Gordon, UAC Forecaster. “With an exemplary ski patrol, and the home resort of many professional skiers and snowboarders, Snowbird provides an exceptional setting for this workshop.”
The clinic will take place at Snowbird Jan. 9-10, 2012, and is geared toward advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders who want to receive practical and professional instruction on avalanche awareness, safety and rescue.
Students will learn how to determine where it is safest to ski or snowboard with real-life line selection, snowpack analysis and terrain assessment. This includes instruction on how to utilize UAC forecasts and what increases or decreases the risk of harm when the forecast is considered safe. In addition, professionals will share safe backcountry travel techniques, such as the one-at-a-time rule and how to locate islands of safety.
Students will also learn how to react if something goes wrong in the backcountry. This includes emergency notification procedures, first aid techniques and a presentation by AirMed on what to do until help arrives. Students will also learn strategies for single and multiple beacon recovery, advanced probing techniques, strategic shoveling, belay systems, anchors and knots.
This year’s athletes include Forrest Shearer, Chris Coulter, Ben Wheeler, Caroline Gleich, Hannah Whitney, Brant Moles and Dave Richards. The Summit will provide the opportunity to network with these professionals, and there will even be a graduation social afterward.
The Summit costs $150 and is limited to 45 participants. Advanced and expert skiers and riders can register by visiting the Snowbird Activity Center or calling (801) 933-2147 Thursdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (interested parties can leave a message with contact information during non-business hours).
Photo from last year’s Summit attached.