Snowbird's Sixth Annual Backcountry Awareness Week

By Tim Roberts Feb 11, 2009

Snowbird continues to bring unparalleled avalanche training to Utah's Wasatch Front during the sixth annual Backcountry Awareness Week, scheduled through Feb. 15. The event features snow safety clinics, on-snow demonstrations, avalanche transceiver drills and an evening fundraiser featuring 12-time Paralympic skier Chris Waddell.

"Backcountry Awareness Week is a great opportunity for the public to learn about snow safety and backcountry recreation," said Bruce Tremper, Director of the Utah Avalanche Center. "Events like this demonstrate why Utah is a leader in backcountry awareness, education and rescue."

Waddell will be the keynote speaker for the Backcountry Awareness Week fundraising dinner on Feb. 13. Waddell will recount how he overcame a paralyzing college ski accident to become one of the most decorated male skiers in history. In addition to his accomplished skiing career, Waddell will attempt to be the first paraplegic to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro this coming March.

The fundraising event also includes a silent auction, dinner, drinks and live music from the Stormy Mountain Boys. The benefit dinner will take place in the Cliff Lodge Ballroom from 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets cost $75 and are available by calling (801) 933-2442 or online at

Three backcountry skills clinics open to the public will be held on Saturday, Feb. 14th. The clinics will be run by members of Wasatch Backcountry Rescue from 9-11 a.m. and again from 1-3 p.m. Participants can choose from a basic avalanche skills course, an intermediate avalanche skills course or a beacon contest. The clinics cost $69 per person for each clinic and include lunch, an all-day Tram ski pass and professional instruction. To register for Backcountry Awareness Week clinics, contact Snowbird's Activity Center at (801) 933-2147.

Following the clinics, famed ski mountaineer Andrew McLean will present the widely acclaimed feature documentary, Steep at the Tram Club from 4:30-6:30 p.m. McLean will speak on his adventures as a ski mountaineer who specializes in steep skiing in remote locations. The film focuses on the evolution of big mountain skiing and the inherent risks presented when trying to find the best runs in mountainous terrain.