Clinic to offer an overview of avalanches

Discussion to focus on backcountry travel

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— Nick Logan of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will present a free avalanche clinic sponsored by Ski Haus from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the community center.

"It's good knowledge to have, especially since backcountry use is way up," said Murray Selleck, Ski Haus employee and a clinic organizer.

The clinic is recommended for anyone who snowshoes, skies, snowmobiles or participates in any backcountry snow activities, Selleck said.

He said the avalanche danger in the Routt County area is not extremely high, but there are pockets in many areas that could result in an avalanche in the right conditions.

Selleck said he thought more high-risk areas include Sand Mountain and the backside of Mount Werner.

He said that although there is not any designated avalanche sites, people exploring the backcountry need a heightened awareness when unsure of the potential for an avalanche to occur.

The clinic will cover studying snow crystals, finding the best route to take in the backcountry and conditions that can bring on an avalanche

"If you're not aware, you are setting yourself up for failure," Selleck said.

Selleck said the clinic would be most beneficial to people with little understanding of avalanches and would be a helpful reminder to people who had already attended a class or seminar.

Although the most important thing is to avoid an avalanche, what to do if an avalanche occurs will also be discussed at the clinic.

People will get to work with transceivers, which are used to help locate a person who has been buried under an avalanche.

Organizing a group of people to ensure an efficient method for recovering a person and getting them to help will also be covered.

Selleck said the clinic would be a great start for people to learn more about avalanches and prevent people from practicing their winter sport when avalanche conditions are present.

As a way to put the skills taught at the clinic into practice, a field session on Rabbit Ears Pass will be offered to a limited number of people for the second part of the clinic. The second clinic has been filled and is not open to the pubic.

During the field session, people will dig snow pits, examine the snow layers, work with transceivers and plan routes. The session will give participants a first-hand experience at diagnosing avalanche conditions and using rescue techniques.

Selleck said the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has the most reliable and accurate information on avalanche precautions and is active throughout the winter season, providing clinics to areas in Colorado with avalanche danger.

"We're lucky to get them the one weekend we do get," he said.

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