Sights from the Copper Mountain SAFE AS women’s avalanche clinic |

Sights from the Copper Mountain SAFE AS women’s avalanche clinic

“Remember, we run, then walk, then crawl,” pro skier Elyse Saugstad told a group of women in her avalanche class at Copper Mountain yesterday. “Slow is fast when you’re dealing with an avalanche.”

For the second year running, a few of the world’s best female skiers and snowboarders convened in Colorado for the SAFE AS clinics, built by women, for women. The program is four years old, and in that time the founding pros have managed to fill all four of their early-season clinics. The all-day Copper event brought: Saugstad of Tahoe, boarder and yogi Sherry McConkey of Squaw Valley, pro skier Michelle Parker also of Tahoe, big mountain skier Jackie Paaso of Maine and now Sweden, plus a packed slate of 60 pupils from across the state, including Summit County, Eagle County, the Winter Park area and Denver.

During the day, the group spent a few hours going over avalanche basics like snowpack and gear essentials, then transitioned into a case study with the Copper ski patrol before heading onto the hill for in-field exercises. Here’s what they saw.

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