9th annual CAIC Benefit Bash is back in Breck for $40 on Dec. 3 | SummitDaily.com

9th annual CAIC Benefit Bash is back in Breck for $40 on Dec. 3

No one throws a party like the avalanche gurus and a thousand of their best buds.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, the nonprofit Friends of CAIC hosts the ninth-annual CAIC Benefit Bash for the statewide organization behind the acronym: Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The annual welcome-to-winter celebration is held at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge to support the CAIC, which oversees four backcountry offices and six transportation offices across the state. There will be gear to auction, local beer to drink and live music from mountain-town bands to tie it all together.

"The Benefit Bash is about the crowd," said Aaron Carlson, executive director for Friends of CAIC, who launched the bash in 2008 with fellow supporter Joe Vandal. "The community that comes together to support the center is just stoked to support something they believe in."

For $40 per ticket, the CAIC Benefit Bash is one of the most affordable benefit parties in Summit County. It also happens to account for about a fifth off all CAIC donation funding. So what's it buy you? Entrance fee includes one door prize ticket, two beer tickets, dinner, access to the silent auction, and a live music by Carbondale's Pearl and Wood and The Davenports.

Not bad, especially considering the raffle prizes and silent auction items are gear from CAIC partners like Scarpa, Black Diamond, BCA, Osprey, Strafe, Weston Snowboards, Outdoor Research and more. Add local beer from all six Summit breweries — Bakers' Brewery, Backcountry Brewery, Pug Ryan's Brewing Co., Dillon Dam Brewery, Broken Compass Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery — and it really is a pre-season reunion for backcountry ski and snowboard junkies.

"I help emcee the event, and that really is my favorite part, asking: What's your story? Why are you here? Is this your first year? Did you win anything?" Carlson said. "I just love it and love being with all these people I haven't seen since last year."

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The Benefit Bash is one thing — the cause is another. Just about all proceeds from ticket sales, the auction and bar service help support CAIC and year-round programs like education, avalanche forecasting and awareness across the state. It keeps initiatives like the Know Before You Go education program free, and it helps the center develop information systems like a forecasting mobile app.

"It's important to us to disseminate information quickly and accurately to the people who need it," Carlson said of the CAIC's mission. "In return, we rely on our users to give us feedback, not only with what they want to see, but to support us. Without people giving back to the avalanche center, it wouldn't be what it is today."

And people are ready to give back. The Benefit Bash is limited to about 1,250 attendees and Carlson said it will sell out quickly. Pre-order tickets before they're gone at FriendsOfCAIC.org.

If you can't make the Benefit Bash, this year it's the kickoff for a holiday giving campaign that runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 31. Supporters can donate online anytime during the campaign, but if you can make one party this winter, make it to the Bash.

"We want users to have a stake in the game," Carlson said. "We want them to say, 'We've supported you, now this is what we want to see and this is what we need.' If we continue growing, we can have the best avalanche center in the world, hands down."

2016 CAIC Benefit Bash

What: The 9th annual fundraising party to support Colorado Avalanche Information Centers, featuring live music, local beer and a silent auction

When: Saturday, Dec. 3 from 5-10 p.m.

Where: Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, 150 W. Adams Avenue in Breck

Cost: $40 per person

The Benefit Bash is open to the public (adults only). Each ticket buys one raffle ticket, two beer tickets, silent auction entry, dinner and live music. For more information or to purchase tickets, see avalanche.state.co.us or friendsofcaic.org.