It’s here! The 2014/15 winter ski season has begun with the opening of Arapahoe Basin last Friday. Its exciting stuff when snow flies and we all rush to make our first sloppy turns with wobbly legs on that run that we like to affectionately call the white ribbon of death. Then as the snow gets deeper and the lift lines get longer many of us look outside the confines of the resorts to the out of bounds and the untouched deepness of the backcountry. However along with the amazing snow comes an undeniable risk in the backcountry.
As we all gear up for another amazing season chasing powder shots, lets take a minute to remember those who perished. Last year there were 27 people caught, 11 buried and 8 killed in avalanches just in Colorado. While numbers are sometimes easy to ignore remember that these people were Brothers, Husbands, Wives, Sisters, Kids and Parents. They were loved, they ARE loved. No family should have to endure the pain and anguish of prematurely losing a loved one. We can perhaps learn something from these accidents though.
With the backcountry more available and accessible than ever lets make sure to educate ourselves. With all the new safety gear available inspiring us to go deep, remember the greatest tool in our back country arsenal is knowledge. There are many places throughout Colorado to get trained in Avalanche Awareness and Snow Studies. They will show you how to use your avalanche tools properly and what to look for when in avalanche terrain. They will teach you to make good decisions when in danger zones. Here is a link with many class options to get yourself Avy Savvy: http://aiare.info/course_list.php.
There are also countless avalanche awareness seminars happening throughout the winter just to keep you updated on what is happening with the current snowpack. Then there is the Colorado Avalanche Awareness Center (CAIC) with avalanche forecast and snowpack discussions they are an awesome resource to help aid your day to day decisions. They also throw one hell of a benefit bash.
This year is the 7th Annual Benefit Bash November 8th at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Forty bucks gets you in the door with music, food, a couple beer tickets and tons of prize giveaways form their many incredible sponsors. Sponsors like; BCA, Arc’teryx, Weston Snowboards, Black Diamond, and Mammut just to name a few. There is also a silent auction for skis and trips and gear. It all helps to fund the CAIC and all the work they do throughout the season.
So go get yourself educated! Make good decisions! Go to the party and talk to like minded people! and above all Have an AWESOME season!!