Louis McBride from Rossland’s McBride Design and Construction Incorporated has purchased and installed an eight-station wireless Back Country Access Avalanche Beacon Training Park at RED Mountain Resort (RMR).
McBride had been visiting the area for a number of years before making Rossland his permanent home. As a visitor to the region he enjoyed training in the old avalanche beacon training facility on RMR. The facility had been removed and so last winter; McBride approached the ski hill to re-open this important community asset.
McBride, an avid back country enthusiast saw the need for this training park in the community. A lot of people travelling in the back country do not practice a rescue near as often as they should in order to be efficient in a real life situation.
“For me it’s important and we need one here in the community,” McBride said of the new avalanche training park. This was motivation enough for McBride to fund the training park from his own pocket.
The park can be accessed by taking RMR’s Silverlode chair. The training park is visible from the chair ride on your way to the top. The park does not cost anything to use. As McBride explains he wanted everyone travelling into the back country to be well prepared and acclimatized to searching and using a probe. “I think it is important, also for the sledders and snoweshoers, for all those who travel into the back country,” he said.
McBride imparts the snow pack conditions in the Rossland Range are particularly touchy this year. “In the Rossland Range because of the rain we got a month or so ago it is not so safe here. There has been a lot of avalanche activity locally. A number of slides have occurred, some on the northern side of Mt. Kirkup; this was just before the ski hill opened (for the winter season)”, he said.
To use the system there is a control panel. There are eight switches, one for each of the transceivers buried in the snow. Once you flip the switch on the control panel it will send a signal from the transceiver to your avalanche beacon. If you locate the buried plywood surrounding the transceiver it will send a signal back to the control panel and the red light turns green. “You can also feel it,” explains McBride.
McBride has placed a notebook in control panel and asks the public to sign it as you use the park. He also advises to “be a good back country partner and get out there and hone your searching skills!”