Copper Mountain ski patroller Matt Brooks prepares for a drill with the resort's avalanche dogs as participants in the SAFE AS clinic look on. The clinic drew 60 participants (a full house) from across the state and region. Phil Lindeman / firstname.lastname@example.org |
Participants in a female-only avalanche clinic practice digging technique at Copper Mountain. Colorado Mountain College offers year-round avalanche training and other courses for outdoor professionals. Phil Lindeman / email@example.com |
Copper Mountain ski patroller Matt Brooks works with Baloo, one of the resort's avalanche dogs, to "rescue" fellow patroller Jonathan Burk during a demonstration at the female-only SAFE AS avalanche clinic on Dec. 19. Phil Lindeman / firstname.lastname@example.org |
Participants in the female-only SAFE AS avalanche clinic get ready to head onto the mountain for on-snow drills at Copper on Dec. 19. Phil Lindeman / email@example.com |
A participant in the SAFE AS avalanche clinic practices assembling a probe at Copper Mountain on Dec. 19. The female-only clinic drew 60 participants to the resort for instruction with a handful of top female pros. Phil Lindeman / firstname.lastname@example.org |
Sherry McConky (right) of the SAFE AS avalanche clinic series helps two snowboarders work with an avalanche beacon at Copper Mountain. Professors with the outdoor education program at Colorado Mountain College suggest taking basic courses before planning a backcountry trip. Phil Lindeman / email@example.com |
A participant in the SAFE AS avalanche course watches as two pro skiers, Jackie Paaso (left) and Elyse Saugstad (right), go over how to use avalanche beacons. The two travel the country teaching female-only avy clinics early in the season. Phil Lindeman / firstname.lastname@example.org |
Participants in the SAFE AS avalanche clinic head into the woods to practice beacon drills at Copper Mountain Dec. 19. The female-only clinic drew 60 aprticipants from across the state and region. Phil Lindeman / email@example.com |
Participants in the female-only SAFE AS avalanche clinic practice retrieving beacons in deep snow at Copper Mountain on Dec. 19. The series gives top-level pros the chance to connect with and educate other women interested in backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Phil Lindeman / firstname.lastname@example.org |
“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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