Skiers can learn the backcountry at workshop
The backcountry is also, of course, un-monitored, un-groomed and un-ski-patrolled, which means there are avalanches, erratic weather and other dangers to worry about.
But a traveler can cut down on those dangers by being well-prepared. In an effort to help locals explore the varying terrain of the wilderness, the Beaver Creek Ski Patrol Thursday night holds the first of its free backcountry awareness and avalanche safety classes.
The workshop, led by members of Beaver Creek’s Ski Patrol, will focus on snow physics, selecting routes, how to evaluate snow stability, using beacons as well as avalanche phenomenon and rescue techniques.
“We’ve had exceptional snowfall so far this season. Inside the ski area boundaries that means great patrolled skiing and riding, but out of
bounds that means variable skiing conditions do exist,” says Addy
McCord, Beaver Creek ski patrol director.
Backcountry skiers essential have to be their own ski patrollers, McCord says.
“On Beaver Creek Mountain, ski patrol mitigates hazards, but in the backcountry, it’s up to each individual to be knowledgeable and take responsibility for recognizing and avoiding potential dangers,” McCord says. “That’s why we’ve been offering these workshops for the past six seasons; we want you to be prepared.”
There will be a total of two or three classes this season, depending upon attendance.
“We really want people to know what they’re getting in to when they head into the backcountry,” McCord says. “We’ve all seen what can happen when someone isn’t prepared.”
Among Vail’s volunteers, we tracked down Bob “Buckwheat” Buckley, Tony White and Brooke Franke Gagnon. They all said it was tough, that they loved it and suggested that if you try it you’ll love it too.