Aspen event to focus on awareness in backcountry |

Aspen event to focus on awareness in backcountry

ASPEN – An Aspen nonprofit group that promotes access to the backcountry is holding a midwinter backcountry-awareness meeting today featuring the local forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center as well as legendary big-mountain skier and backcountry guide Dean Cummings.

Powder to the People will hold its meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Rio Grande Room, between the Pitkin County Library and Pitkin County Jail.

Aspen-based Brian McCall, of the avalanche center, will discuss backcountry conditions, recent avalanche activity and how the snowpack is shaping up.

Cummings will share his Steep Life Protocols for smart travel in avalanche-prone terrain. He has established the protocol during 20 years of guiding in Valdez, Alaska.

“He will also share stories of some of his epic first descents,” Powder to the People said in a meeting announcement.

Cummings is the owner, operator and head guide of H2O Guides, which operates in the Chugach Range of Alaska. He is also a leader in avalanche training. He helped found the North America Outdoor Institute and helped craft the “Be Snow Smart” education program, which teaches practical recreational safety measures to 20,000 people annually.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door. Following the presentations, participants are invited to join Cummings at a meet-and-greet at Taster’s Pizza, in the lower level of the Rio Grande Building.

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