Avalanche beacon training park opens in Frisco
Summit Daily staff report
The Summit County Rescue Group has activated the avalanche beacon training park for the 2019 winter season. The training facility, located at the bottom of the Frisco Adventure Park, is a valuable resource for anyone hoping to hone their beacon searching skills free of charge.
Participants can activate anywhere from one to seven beacons depending on their skill level, and instructions are contained on a large board close to the control panel in the park. The rescue group is encouraging people of all skill levels to head to the park to sharpen their skills.
“Our areas’ ski patrollers and professional backcountry guides are constantly honing their beacon skills,” said Charles Pitman, spokesperson for SCRG. “They practice at least weekly, if not daily. Beacons are not necessarily difficult to gain a basic familiarity with, but to become truly proficient takes considerable practice. If you have to think about what to do in an emergency, the valuable time lost could mean the difference between life and death.”
Pitman also encouraged backcountry users to take an avalanche class to educate themselves on how to minimize their exposure to avalanches by learning about snow conditions, routing in and out of different areas, crossing avalanche prone areas, identifying snow instability and learning what actions to take if there is a slide. Pitman noted that basic rescue gear like beacons, probe poles and shovels should be staples for any backcountry users, and that learning to properly use the tools is essential knowledge for those recreating in the mountains. He also said that those planning trips to the backcountry should check in with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for weather and conditions, and plan their routes using sites such as Google Earth and GPS mapping programs.
“Our county is in the top two or three in the state for avalanche fatalities over the past 50 years,” said Pitman. “And Colorado is far and away the top state in the entire country for avalanche fatalities, by a factor of two over the second place state. Those facts alone should provide a wakeup call if you plan on taking advantage of the winter snows.”
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