Get set for Avalanche Awareness Day next week in Rossland

Avalanche Awareness Day is planned for Saturday, Jan. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside the base lodge at Red Mountain Resort in Rossland.

Participants practice using a probe at a past Avalanche Awareness Day. The event

Avalanche Awareness Day is planned for Saturday, January 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside the base lodge at Red Mountain Resort.

This free event, hosted by Rossland and District Search and Rescue, offers hands-on avalanche safety gear clinics, poster competition for kids, demonstrations, races, and prizes.

Those interested should dress for the weather and wear warm boots. If access to the chair is required, lift tickets must be purchased.

“While not a substitute for a full-on Avalanche Skills Training class, this is a great introduction for back country travelers who are interested in learning about avalanche safety,” says Ross Breakwell, Training Coordinator for Rossland & District Search and Rescue (RSAR.) “We’ll have transceivers, probes and shovels for people to use.”

Those who have had previous avalanche training are also invited.

“It is a good opportunity for experienced people to review and actually practice using their own gear,” Breakwell added.

Clinics on building emergency snow shelters and digging snow pits will be offered, and there will be team competitions and giveaways in the afternoon. All clinics will be within walking distance of the base lodge.

“Anyone who plays in the winter Kootenay backcountry should be trained in avalanche hazard recognition, safe travel, and rescue gear,” said Dave Braithwaite, president of RSAR. “Avalanche Awareness Day is a great introduction and review. We encourage all backcountry skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers to take a full avalanche course through an organization like the Canadian Avalanche Association.”

Participants may sign up for   Avalanche Awareness Day at the RSAR trailer between 8:45 and 9:15 a.m. in order to attend the first clinics that begin at 9:20 a.m. Registration will continue throughout the day for later sessions. Participants must be fully registered before attending any clinic, and may come for the entire day, or just part of the day.

Session 1: 9:20 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. (Sign up for one of the three clinics)

Clinic 1: Using Avalanche Transceivers

Clinic 2: Probe Lines

Clinic 3: Building a Hasty Snow shelter

Session 2: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Sign up for one of the three clinics)

Clinic 1: Using Avalanche Transceivers

Clinic 2: Probe Lines

Clinic 3: Can You Hear Me Now? Check your personal avalanche transceiver

Lunch: 12:30

Session 3: 12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (bring your lunch)

Demonstration: Dig It. How to dig a snow pit and what the snow layers mean to you

Session 4: 1:45 – 3 p.m.

* Putting it all together: Team races to find buried “skiers,” probe for buried “adventurers;” and more.

* Kid’s Avalanche Awareness Poster Contest at the RSAR trailer parked at the base lodge, 2:30 – 3 p.m.

Backcountry travelers who are considering taking a full avalanche course may learn more at the Canadian Avalanche Association website, www.avalanche.ca.

To find course providers in the Kootenay Boundary Region, see www.avalanche.ca/cac/training/ast/providers/1