Avalanche awareness training offered


Backcountry skiers motivated to seek additional avalanche safety training in the wake of the death of Michael Gebhardt, 26, on Soda Mountain on Monday have an opportunity Saturday at Vista Verde Guest Ranch near Clark.

Routt County Search and Rescue is co-hosting the second cross-country ski race of the Nordic Challenge Series with the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council. An avalanche awareness clinic already was planned in conjunction with the race before Gebhardt's death in an avalanche Monday.

The race features 6- and 12-kilometer divisions, but a recreational 3K race has been organized to accommodate junior ski racers and people interested in the avalanche awareness clinic. The 3K race begins at 10 a.m., and skiers will be joined on the easy loop by members of the nonprofit Search and Rescue, which responded to Monday's avalanche scene.

Immediately after the race, members of the public will be able to watch Search and Rescue personnel carry out a training scenario. Backcountry skiers will learn what equipment they should carry and how to use it.

The fee is $12, and $10 of that amount will go to Search and Rescue.

Skiers in the competitive division will enjoy a course that follows a gentle meadow along Ranch Run before climbing into the hills on Coulton Loop and Peek at the Peaks trail. The 6K recreational division takes off at 10:05 a.m. followed by the 12K competitive skiers at 10:15 a.m.

Race registration will be from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at Vista Verde, which is on Routt County Road 64 northeast of Clark. Parking is limited, and participants are encouraged to car pool.

A post race party will be held at about 11:30 a.m. at Glen Eden in Clark. Visit www.steamboatxcski.org.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com


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