Quandary talks avalanche safety and charitable weekend options | SummitDaily.com

Quandary talks avalanche safety and charitable weekend options


Avalanches can catch even the most seasoned goats by surprise, but there are ways you can decrease the likelihood of causing an avalanche, and increase your survival chances should one occur. Every year six to eight people die in avalanches in Colorado; there are no statistics on how many goats are lost, but let me tell you, friend, the cost is high. As more and more of you venture into the backcountry, the risks increase greatly.

First, make sure you know where you are going. It helps to have at least one person in your group who knows the area well, but realize when push comes to shove you are responsible for yourself. Chances are you and your buddies aren’t connected at the hip, so if an avalanche does occur you could very easily get separated. Carry a topographical map with you as well as a winter motor-vehicle use map and make sure you know how to read both. To pick up a road map check with the White River National Forest Ranger office. If you can, take a GPS device as well, but don’t let a computer substitute for your brain. Pay attention to the landmarks around you and know which trails you’ve ventured onto and around. Don’t let your buddies talk you into a bad idea, either. When everybody is out enjoying the terrain it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and end up hitting a slope or following a trail you know to be dangerous. Use your best judgment, not someone else’s. Trust me, the black sheep always has bad ideas; sometimes they sound like a lot of fun, but often they just lead to trouble. Speaking of your buddies, make sure one of those who weren’t quite cool enough to make the trip at least knows where you are. You don’t have to do it in a rubbing-it-in kind of way, but it is important for someone to know where you went and when you plan to come back.

Check avalanche forecasts before laying tracks in the backcountry. You can see current conditions through the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website (www.colorado.gov/avalanche) or on the center’s smartphone app. Even if the danger is low, that doesn’t mean you can lower your guard; human-caused slides can occur in most conditions. To avoid triggering an avalanche, look for cracks in the snow and loose snowpack. Also, be wary of areas where there is a large overhang. Make sure not to cut above anyone traveling a line below you, and just like in kindergarten take turns so not everyone is exposed at the same time.

Once you’ve made your plans and prepared your group, check your equipment. Do a battery check on all your gear every time you venture into the backcountry; don’t just assume it’s going to work. Along with a beacon, take a shovel and waterproof gear and extra layers to make sure you are prepared for changing weather conditions.


You picked a good weekend to put your charitable hat on. There are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy Summit while still feeling like you’ve made a difference. On Saturday, March 7, start your day out bright and early at 8 a.m. for the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series. The event will take place at the Frisco Nordic Center. Even if you are like a baby goat just learning to use your knobby knees when you’re on snowshoes, this event will still be a lot of fun. There are races and walks of different lengths so everyone in the family can find something to participate in.

Next, toss on a hoop skirt and your best bustle and head to Dillon for a Victorian tea. This event will be a little more low key than the Romp and will take place at 1 p.m. at the Dillon Community Church. Your generosity will help support the historical organizations doing preservation work in Summit County.

After getting your fill of tea and sandwiches, it’s time to hobnob at the Tim McClure Benefit at 6 p.m. at the Village in Breckenridge. This event is for those interested in good food, good booze and a green Earth. It supports environmentally friendly initiatives and will feature a silent auction and live entertainment. Get out your dancing shoes and stretchy pants to fully enjoy the evening.

Here’s where things might get a little tight on your schedule. While the Tim McClure Benefit runs until 9:30 p.m., if you dodge out early (after bidding on all your must-have items, of course) you can sprint your way to the Riverwalk Center where, ironically, The Long Run will be performing an Eagles tribute concert to support Domus Pacis Family Respite at 7:30 p.m. Domus Pacis is an organization that gives families battling cancer a chance to escape to our humble hamlet for a much-needed break.

Then won’t you be so proud? You’ll have helped research cancer, supported families that are already dealing with the disease and protected the history and future of this fine planet. A job well done! What’s that? You were at the bars Friday and slept through the ultimate day of giving? No worries, there are still plenty of ways to contribute here in Summit. Just check the Summit Daily events calendar or with specific organizations to learn how you can help.

Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to quandary@summitdaily.com.

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