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

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.

Avalanche conditions Tuesday were rated moderate below, near and above treeline. The center’s web address is


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