Mountain Rescue Aspen offers avalanche workshop | AspenTimes.com

Mountain Rescue Aspen offers avalanche workshop

Staff report

Avalanche awareness skills — always vital for backcountry adventurers — might be especially important this season after good early-season snowfall was followed by unseasonably warm temperatures and now additional snowfall. The snow that will hopefully continue to pile up is, unfortunately, resting on a weak layer.

The first chance of the season to take an avalanche awareness workshop will be Jan. 9 and 10 when Mountain Rescue Aspen will hold its annual workshop.

Participants will learn the fundamentals of avalanche awareness, including avalanche hazard evaluation, snow-pit evaluation, beacon search, route selection, safe travel technique, companion rescue and efficient shoveling.

A mandatory classroom session will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 at the Little Nell Hotel. A field day with "rescue problems" will follow the next day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the backside of Aspen, according to a flier for the event.

The cost is $30. That covers the Friday lecture and Saturday terrain tour plus a one-ride ticket for the Silver Queen Gondola and avalanche educational materials. Mountain Rescue Aspen is recommending the class for snowshoers, skiers, snowmobilers and snowboarders. Limited space is available so pre-registration is advised by visiting http://www.MountainRescue Aspen.org.

In other news for backcountry travelers, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center beefed up its website for 2014-15. The backcountry avalanche forecast page has significantly more information in a new format. The website includes regular reports and forecasts by Blase Reardon, who works the Aspen and Marble zone.

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Avalanche conditions Tuesday were rated moderate below, near and above treeline. The center's web address is http://avalanche.state.co.us.

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