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Avalanche awareness for women

SUMMIT COUNTY – With the recent deluge of avalanches in Colorado, there may be no better time for women to review the basics of avalanche awareness.

Leslie Ross, director of Babes in the Backcountry, offers outdoor education workshops – on telemark skiing, mountain biking and wellness – designed for women by women.

“It’s nice for women to learn in an all-women’s environment because there isn’t that social pressure,” Ross said. “It’s nice for them to be in that less competitive environment (and) to learn from other women’s perspective.”



Not only do women’s workshops offer learning in a less competitive environment, she said, but it’s also nice for women to learn from other women and from a female perspective, as many women process differently than men.

Ross has been traveling in the backcountry for more than 10 years. Still, she doesn’t consider herself an expert.



Avalanche awareness and backcountry travel are a life-long learning process, she said.

“We’re all students,” Ross said. “Once we think we know all there is to know, we’ve got to take a step back … because that’s when accidents happen.”

On Wednesday, Ross will present a slide show and cover some of the key components to travelling safely in the backcountry in the winter, including what to know about terrain, weather, snowpack and hazards. She will explain basic rescue techniques, demonstrate how to use avalanche tools, such as beacons and probes, and review the basic gear one should have for backcountry travel.

“It’s a good opportunity for people who are thinking about doing more backcountry excursions, as well as a refresher for backcountry travelers who want to refresh their backcountry knowledge,” Ross said. “It (also) might be a good opportunity for some people who never considered going on a backcountry tour.”

Ross’ workshop is not geared specifically for skiers but includes information for anyone travelling into the backcountry – snowshoers, Nordic skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers, too.

The workshop also will be an opportunity for female outdoor enthusiasts to network and find some new backcountry companions, she said.

Ross stressed that Wednesday’s workshop is merely an overview and does not replace an avalanche course in the field.

“It’s more of a stepping stone,” she said. “Wednesday night is a good opportunity to learn a little bit (and) get some information. There’s always something we can learn.”

Backcountry Access in Boulder and Four Points Sheraton in Silverthorne are sponsoring Wednesday’s workshop – one of a series of workshops offered to local women on a variety of

topics.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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