Explore the Science Behind Avalanches with Walking Mountains, Jan. 12 | VailDaily.com

Explore the Science Behind Avalanches with Walking Mountains, Jan. 12

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

Kelli Rohrig is truly a jack-of-all-trades, having competed as a professional mountain biker, on the U.S. telemark extremes tour and as an adventure racer. She will lead the Science Behind discussion about avalanches Thursday, Jan. 12, with her husband, Kreston.

AVON — Stepping outside into a winter wonderland in the high Rockies is a gift. Travelers trek from near and far battling traffic, ice and snow for the chance to experience a true winter vacation. Locals who call these mountains home give thanks to Ullr for our famous powder and bluebird days.

But what many may not realize is how significantly snow and weather processes impact our community and the individuals who recreate here. Understanding the science of snow, weather and avalanches is important now more than ever, as winter tourism and opportunities to explore continue to grow.

On Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Walking Mountains Science Center and special guests Kelli and Kreston Rohrig from White Room Adventure Tours will host an evening discussing the basics of avalanche science and safety.

Participants will explore the fundamentals of snow, weather and avalanche principles and processes while considering safe and efficient winter travel practices. Vail Brewing Co. will provide free beer for program participants, and both novices and enthusiasts will find value in this free presentation.

In Colorado, there is no way to determine the number of people caught or buried in avalanches each year because most non-fatal avalanche incidents are not reported. However, since 1950, more than 250 individuals have lost their lives to the incredible force and strength of avalanches. That's more than California, Utah and Montana combined.

What is it about our snowpack that leaves Colorado backcountry enthusiasts more exposed and vulnerable? How can education and awareness prevent future tragedies in our mountains? Understanding the basics of our snowpack's formation and how to read the landscape for telltale signs of avalanche danger is fundamental knowledge for every high country traveler.

Recommended Stories For You

Native Coloradans

The Rohrigs are lifelong skiers, both having learned to ski before they could run. As native Coloradans, they have been exposed to the outdoors since their days in diapers. The couple is on the constant look out for the next beautiful spot to play — be it on skis, bikes, in shoes or in a kayak. Kreston and Kelli said they love to share their stashes and special places with others who appreciate the great outdoors and love to play.

Kelli Rohrig is truly a jack-of-all-trades, having competed as a professional mountain biker, on the U.S. telemark extremes tour and as an adventure racer. Through the successes and not so successful times, she learned what it is to be passionate about the outdoors. Over the years, Kelli has had the opportunity to share her skills and passion with others.

She has her American Canoe Association certificate for teaching kayaking, has coached both alpine and Nordic skiing, was an instructor for Babes in the Backcountry telemark camps, is an emergency medical technician and has multiple years of avalanche training.

Kreston Rohrig is a fifth-year ski patroller with experience in both the Rocky Mountains and the Alps. He is a textbook ski junkie and usually logs more than 150 days per year on the snow. A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental science, Kreston is also a nationally certified EMT, has his Wilderness First Responder certification, is Avalanche 2 certified, is the lead for lift evacuation at Beaver Creek and is en route to qualifying for his blaster's license. He is also an assistant avalanche dog handler working on rescues in Eagle County.

More information

For more information about this event and others in the Walking Mountains Science Behind series, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb.

If you go …

What: The Science Behind Avalanches.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12.

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center, 318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon.

Cost: Free, $5 donation suggested.

More information: Space is limited; visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb to register.