Heads up for Avalanche Awareness Day

Avalanche Awareness Day is planned for Saturday, Jan. 13.

Avalanche Awareness Day is planned for Saturday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside the Base Lodge at Red Mountain Resort.

This free event, hosted by Rossland & District Search and Rescue (RSAR) with help from other nearby SAR groups, offers hands-on avalanche safety gear clinics, competitions, activities for kids, demonstrations, races, and prizes. Those interested should dress for the weather and wear warm boots.

Access to the chairlift is not required. Those who have their own avalanche rescue gear should bring it, but some gear will be available on loan to try.

“While not a substitute for a full-on Avalanche Skills Training class, this is a great introduction for backcountry travellers who are interested in learning about avalanche safety,” says Robin Beech, Training Coordinator for 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,” Beech added.

Clinics on building emergency snow shelters and digging snow pits will be offered, and there will be team competitions and prizes 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 Andrew Duncan, 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 shortly before 10 AM in order to attend the first clinics that begin at 10 AM. 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.

Multiple events happen at the same time. List of the day’s ongoing events may include but are not limited to:

Building emergency snow shelter

Instruction in snow profiling

Instruction & practice in transceiver use for various situations (Bring your transceiver if you have one, others will be provided)

Probe line instruction & practice

Guest speakers

Demonstration of emergency & first aid equipment

Information on helicopter safety topics

Question & answers any time during the day

Fun race

Prizes will be awarded for some events

Backcountry travellers who are considering taking a full avalanche course may learn more at the Canadian Avalanche Association website, http://www.avalanche.ca/map

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