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SEPTEMBER 2018 ISSUE |Looking back
The monthly dump is back for the 2018 – 2019 season! We could not be more excited for the upcoming winter season. But first, let’s take a look back at how last season shaped up and the events we have to kick off this fall.
2017-2018 Season Review
The 2017-18 avalanche season in Colorado was characterized by a stark north-south gradient in total snowfall, and warm, wet storms punctuating prolonged dry spells. In portions of the Central and Southern Mountains, it was one of the driest winters in the last 40 years. Our Northern Mountains fared better, with some areas quietly sneaking in a decent season with near or even slightly above median annual snowfall. Rain as high as 12,000 feet and several dust events made many us of wonder how winter might look in the future.

There were approximately 2200 avalanches reported to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). CAIC documented 35 incidents, with 45 people caught and three killed – less than the 10-year mean of six fatalities per season. The numbers are likely affected by a shortened snowpack season, particularly in our Southern Mountains, that had long stretches with little avalanche hazard due to poor snow coverage.

An early October storm dropped enough snow at higher elevations to persist through a pronounced fall/early 12de65a6-ef64-465b-97da-07a339ae0f8a.jpgwinter drought. A thick foundation of depth hoar developed across much of the state. This layer plagued us for the remainder of the season. We received four “storms” during this drought period with very little snow accumulating prior to Thanksgiving. Each of these storms was followed by extended dry periods of at least a week. Our first close call occurred right after one of these modest loading events on November 18, when a snowboarder near Aspen was caught, carried, and partially buried. Fortunately, he walked away with no major injuries.

The longest period without significant snowfall was from November 18 to just before Christmas. During this five-week dry spell, the snowpack around the state dropped to less than 75% of long-term median, with some areas in the Central and Southern Mountains in the single digits. A “Christmas storm” finally brought snow we could measure in feet. Our snowpack did not handle this test well, and we saw our first, and in hindsight, most widespread avalanche cycle of the season. This pattern – mid to late-month storms interrupting dry periods and leading to avalanche cycles – continued into April. The avalanches in each cycle failed on the facet layer that developed during the early-season drought

The first fatality of the season occurred right after the mid-January storm in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton. Two backcountry skiers were caught and partially buried after venturing into terrain they planned to avoid. One did not survive.

February was the snowiest month of the season for the entire state, accounting for a large percentage of snowfall for the entire season. In some locations in the Southern Mountains, February snowfall amounted to around half of the season’s snowfall. Not surprisingly, we also had a lot of associated avalanche activity, and 6bc68772-ea3a-4929-9ee2-6181cc2ef830.jpga little over one third of all avalanche incidents occurred during this one month. The month’s incidents include a solo skier near Berthoud Pass who was caught, carried, and sustained injuries, and a skier near Vail Pass who was partially buried and suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalization.

Mid-February storms produced a remarkably sustained cycle of large and very large avalanches, with D2.5 or larger slides nearly every day for over a week in some locations. The cycle left many professionals searching their memories to recall such a long-lived cycle of avalanches breaking to the ground with very small loads or even just a minor uptick in wind transport.

March was mostly warm and dry. Warm, spring-time temperatures brought a few days of small wet avalanches throughout March, but we didn’t get a pronounced Wet Slab avalanche cycle until later in the season. Storms in the latter half of the month brought rain to 11,000 ft. We had several close calls during the month, but entered April with hopes of finishing the season with only one tragic avalanche fatality.

It was not to be. One of the season’s largest storms arrived on April 6, delivering ample heavy, wet snow over the next three days. Snow-water-equivalent was up to 4 inches of water with 2 to 3 feet of snow in the favored locations. We observed rain close to 12,000 feet at the tail end of the storm. This was an unusual 3d5c6435-0395-4d04-b2ae-a8224207926f.jpgevent, and two fatalities occurred in the three-day period right after the storm lifted. On closing day for Aspen Highlands (April 8), a member of the local Search and Rescue group was caught, carried, and killed in the backcountry adjacent to the ski area. An avalanche warning was in effect at the time of accident. On April 10, snowmobilers near Breckenridge triggered an avalanche that broke on the early-season, basal facets. The victim was fully buried and killed. He was wearing a beacon, but it was not turned on. It was sobering to enter the final stretches of the season with two more tragic accidents, each of which has take-home lessons that are too familiar. A number of Wet Slab avalanches followed later in April and into May.

On the education front, the CAIC and Friends of CAIC continued the Know Before You Go program statewide. Combined with our other educational programs, CAIC staff and trained instructors across the state conducted around 150 education events and reached approximately 6300 students. We look forward to improving and expanding these programs for next season.

Lastly – Thank you for your past support and in advance for your continued support. Together we can achieve our strategic goals and continue to build the best avalanche forecast center Colorado has ever seen.

Upcoming Events

Mountain Meteorology Workshop

Tuesday – Thursday, Sept. 11-13
Colorado Mountain College, Leadville
Click here to learn more and purchase your ticket.


Bentgate’s Ski Season Kickoff Party

Thursday, Oct. 4
American Mountaineering Center, Golden
Click hereto learn more and purchase your ticket.


Colorado Snow & Avalanche Workshop

Friday, October 5
Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge
Click hereto learn more and purchase your ticket.

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Philmont Scout Ranch Cancels all Trips, Treks and Backcountry Programs for Summer of 2018


After careful consideration of the situation and available options, the difficult but prudent decision has been made that the Philmont backcountry will remain closed for treks and individual programs for the remainder of the 2018 summer season. This means that the following programs scheduled for this summer are canceled: 7- and 12-day treks; and individual backcountry programs, including Rayado, ROCS, Trail Crew, STEM and Ranch Hands.

Refund Checks for all affected crews will be sent to the lead contact advisor on Monday, July 9, 2018. Over the next few days, our staff will be contacting the lead advisor or contingent leader of these crews confirming the refund, offering a trek at Philmont for the 2020 season, and answering any questions. Please wait and allow the Philmont team to contact your crew – your assistance will help make sure that Philmont phone lines remain open. Your cooperation will be most appreciated. While High Adventure opportunities are at capacity at Northern Tier and the Florida Sea Base, there are opportunities at The Summit and they would be happy to accommodate your crew.

This has been a difficult and at the same time inspiring summer at Philmont. For the first time in its history, Philmont is closing its backcountry. As difficult as this situation has been for our Philmont family and for Scouts across our country, we have been truly inspired by the incredible enthusiasm and perseverance shown by our staff, the resourcefulness displayed by displaced crews to find other summer adventures, and the understanding and good wishes from thousands of Scouts and Scouters from around the world. For all of these blessings, we are truly grateful.

Fire danger in northern New Mexico is currently classified as “extreme.”

The fire danger has led to closure of most public lands near Philmont. The Carson National Forest’s nearby Questa and Camino Real Ranger Districts, including the Valle Vidal area that Philmont utilizes, have been closed to public access. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department has similarly closed all of its properties that border Philmont, including the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area on our western border and the Elliott S.

Barker Wildlife Management Area adjacent to our North Country. Links to these closure notices are included at the end of this release.

On Friday, June 29, 2018, the Morris (Moras) Creek fire started south of the Philmont property line on private neighboring property near the Rayado River Canyon. This fire is currently more than 1500 acres and is burning on Philmont property.

Our ranch managers, volunteer leaders, and national staff have monitored the situation since the Ute Park fire began and attempted to plan alternate trek routes and procedures required by Philmont to manage backcountry emergencies. Because of the Morris (Moras) Creek fire, these alternate trek routes have now been eliminated. The safety of our youth participants, volunteers and staff is the priority at Philmont Scout Ranch and for the Boy Scouts of America.

This decision applies only to Philmont’s backcountry programs. Philmont’s Camping Headquarters and Base Camp area, the Philmont Training Center, the new National Scouting Museum, the Chase Ranch, and the Kit Carson Museum at Rayado will remain open all summer. Training courses at the Philmont Training Center and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience

(NAYLE) will proceed as scheduled. This decision does not affect Philmont’s fall programs, including Autumn Adventure and fall PTC training conferences.

The Philmont ranger motto is “scramble – be flexible.” That’s what we at Philmont have been doing all summer as we deal with these unexpected and unfortunate circumstances. Our terrific summer staff has embraced challenges that they didn’t anticipate when they signed on. They expected to be delivering awesome backcountry programs and inspiring high adventure experiences to thousands of Scouts and Scouters. Instead, they have enthusiastically taken on difficult and physically taxing timber stand improvement projects, backcountry fire abatement work, community service projects, and staff jobs at other camps. They are making sure we will be ready to re-open next year! Their willingness to roll up their sleeves, pitch in and meet the challenges we have faced reflects the very best on Scouting and our nation’s youth. They have our sincere thanks!

Our National BSA leadership has been working with airlines to assist crews with refunds, changes, and credits. Please refer to the following contacts for support.

American Airlines—-1-800-221-2255

Southwest Airlines—1-800-435-9792

Alaska Airlines

Backcountry skier sues in Small Claims Court in San Miguel County Colorado for injuries she received when a backcountry snowboarder triggered an Avalanche that injured her.

The defendant snowboarder had agreed not to descend the slope until the lower parties had called and told them they had cleared the area. The defendant failed to wait and admitted he had triggered the Avalanche.

BEFORE COMMENTING READ EVERYTHING. I WAS NOT THE ATTORNEY FOR EITHER PARTY IN THIS CASE. The defendant in his comments about this article made that statement that I was the plaintiff’s attorney. He was the one in court, not me. How he made that mistake I don’t know. But Sober Up!

State: Colorado, San Miguel Small Claims Court

Plaintiff: Jayleen Troutwin

Defendant: Christopher Parke

Plaintiff Claims: Negligence

Defendant Defenses:

Holding: for the plaintiff

Year: 2017


Under Colorado law, you can create a duty when you agree to act or not act. Here the defendant created a duty when he agreed not to descend the slope until he had received a phone call from the first party that they had cleared the danger area.

This is a first of its kind suit that I have found, and the judge’s decision in this case is striking in its clarity and reasoning. At the same time, it might open up backcountry injuries to more litigation. The facts that created this lawsuit are specific in how the duty was created, and that will be rare in 90% of the backcountry accidents.

I have attached the written decision of the court to this analysis, and I encourage you to read it.

Facts: taken from the complaint, the CAIC Report and The Order of Judgment

The plaintiff was skiing out of bounds in Bear Creek outside of the Telluride Ski Area. While skiing they ran into the defendant and his friend. The defendant and friend were not ready to go, so the plaintiff and friend took off. The plaintiff and friend stated they would call the defendant when they were out of the danger zone at the bottom of the chute they both intended to ski.

The defendant and his friend did not wait, and triggered an avalanche. Plaintiff was still repelling when the avalanche hit her sweeping her off the rappel, and she fell 1200 feet down the slope riding the avalanche. She survived on top of the snow with several injuries.

The defendant admitted that it was his fault, and he would pay for the plaintiff’s medical bills. He made one payment and no others. The Plaintiff’s medical bills were in excess of $50,000. However, she still skied out after the incident.

The plaintiff sued the defendant in Small Claims Court. Small Claims court is for parties without attorneys, and the judge can grant a maximum of $7500.00 in damages.

Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.

Normally, participants in sporting or outdoor recreation events assume the risks inherent in the sport. Avalanches are an inherent risk of skiing. The Colorado Supreme Court has stated that in Colorado Supreme Court rules that an inbounds Avalanche is an inherent risk assumed by skiers based upon the Colorado Skier Safety Act.

Under most circumstances, the plaintiff in this situation would have assumed the risk of her injuries. What sets this decision apart was the agreement at the top of the mountain between the two groups of people. One group agreed not to descend into the chute until the other group had cleared the chute.

This creates an assumed duty on the part of the defendant. By agreeing to the acts, the plaintiff assumed a duty to the defendant.

The assumed duty doctrine “must be predicated on two factual findings.” “A plaintiff must first show that the defendant, either through its affirmative acts or through a promise to act, undertook to render a service that was reasonably calculated to prevent the type of harm that befell the plaintiff.” “Second, a plaintiff must also show either that he relied on the defendant to perform the service or that defendant’s undertaking increased plaintiff’s risk.”

This assumed duty was done specifically to prevent injuries to the other skiers. The skiers also relied on this agreement when they skied down the slope.

This Court, therefore, finds that the Defendant assumed a duty of care in agreeing not to ski his chosen route while Troutwin and Hope were still skiing theirs in an effort to avoid a skier-triggered avalanche.

Thus, when the defendant started down the chute, he violated the agreed to duty of care to the skiers below them.

The next issue to prove negligence in this case is causation or proximate causation. The breach of the duty by the defendant must be related to the injury the plaintiff received. The court simply found but for the actions of the defendant, the injuries of the plaintiff would not have occurred.

The defendant admitted triggering the avalanche, and the avalanche is what swept the plaintiff off the rappel.

The defendant raised two defenses at trial. Comparative Negligence and Assumption of Risk.

Comparative negligence asks, “did the actions of the plaintiff create or expose the plaintiff to an unreasonable risk of harm?” Comparative negligence is applied to reduce the damages the plaintiff might receive if both parties are at fault in causing the injuries to the plaintiff.

The defendant argued the plaintiff assumed the risk of her injuries and was a partial cause of her injuries when she did not use a backup device on her rappel.

The court looked at the failure to use a backup system on rappel as the same as failing to wear a seatbelt in a car or failing to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Both have been determined by the Colorado Supreme Court to not be a component contributing to comparative negligence.

The reasoning behind this is simple. The plaintiff should not be required to determine in advance the negligence of any third party. Meaning it is not the injured parties’ duty, in advance to determine and then deal with any possible negligence of any other person. If that was the case, you could never leave the house because you never guessed what injury you might have received.

…[f]irst, a defendant should not diminish the consequences of his negligence by the failure of the injured party to anticipate defendant’s negligence in causing the accident itself. Second, a defense premised on an injured party’s failure to wear a protective helmet would result in a windfall to tortfeasors who pay only partially for the harm their negligence caused. Third, allowing the defense would lead to a veritable battle of experts as to what injuries would have or have not been avoided had the plaintiff been wearing a helmet.

The court found that neither comparative negligence, nor assumption of the risk applied to these facts and were not a defense to the plaintiff’s claims.

The court also added a section to its opinion about the future of backcountry skiing and the Policy issues this decision might create. It is well-written and worth quoting here.

51. This Court has determined that Parke’s duty of care is a result of his express assumption of that duty, rather than broader policy concerns that are typically addressed in protracted discussions of legal duty. It is nevertheless, worth noting that given the increasing popularity of backcountry skiing and skiing into Bear Creek, in particular, the risk of skiers triggering avalanches above one-another is likely increasing. In situations where skiers have no knowledge of whether a group is below, the legal outcome of an accident may be different than the result reached here. A liability rule that thus encourages skiers to avoid investigating whether their descent might pose a risk to those below feels averse to sound public policy. Communication and coordination between groups of backcountry skiers is surely good practice.

52. But meaningful communication is not necessarily impossible in these circumstances. This Court is swayed by the availability of radios like that which Troutwin and Hope carried. These radios are a communication option that appears more reliable than cellular telephones. Perhaps if they become more prevalent, more communication between parties will take place. And it follows and is foreseeable that other communications platforms or safety standards will develop to address this specific risk. The liability rule discussed here does not necessarily foreclose those developments.

53. The ethics and liability rules associated with backcountry skiing are likely to continue to evolve as its popularity increases and safety standards emerge. The law is likely to continue to evolve in kind.

It is refreshing to see a judge look at the broader aspect of his or her decision as it applies to an evolving sport.

The court found that the plaintiff suffered $9,660.00 in damages. The jurisdictional limit a Colorado Small Claims court can issue is a maximum of $7,500.00, which is the amount the plaintiff was awarded.

So Now What?

If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you say you are going to wait, wait. It is that simple.

More importantly, litigation has now entered the realm of backcountry skiing. Will it create more litigation, probably? Backcountry skiers who have no health insurance or no income while they recover will be looking for a way to get hospital bill collectors off their phone and pizza coming to the front door. Worse, health insurance companies will look at a way through their subrogation clauses to try to recover the money they pay out on behalf of their insureds.

At the same time, based upon these facts, the defendant was the sole cause of the plaintiff’s injuries not because he triggered an avalanche, but because he agreed not to trigger an avalanche.

Documents Attached:

Notice, Claim and Summons to Appear for a Trial.   


Trial Exhibits 1 through 9

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 4

Exhibit 5

Exhibit 6

Exhibit 7

Exhibit 8

Exhibit 9

Order of Judgment

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2017 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

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G3 is having a Pre-Season Clearout

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New Wrinkle in the skiing out of bound’s odyssey. Douglas County Nevada law prohibits it, even though US Forest Service says it is not illegal.

Man skiing out of bounds, missing & SAR goes looking for him. When he shows up, he is issued a ticket for violating an out of bounds skiing law in Douglas County, Nevada.

A skier a Tahoe NV resident, ducked a rope at Heavenly Ski Resort and ski out of bounds. When he did not come back after two hours, and the resort had closed his friends called the sheriff’s office.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s office and Douglas County Search and Rescue (SAR) team started a search. Four hours later, the missing skier contacted the sheriff’s office and notified them he was OK.

Soon thereafter, the sheriff’s office met the individual and issued him a ticket for skiing out of bounds. Bail was $640.00.

Nevada has a Skier Responsibility Code, which specifically allows counties to enact their own codes if they do not conflict with the Nevada state skier responsibility code. Consequently, Douglas County has added to the responsibilities with its code, which affects Heavenly.

(How the civil requirements and prohibitions are applied from a criminal code is confusing.)

The main difference between the state statute and the county ordinance is the skiing out of bound’s section.

9.08.030 Skier duties

11. A skier, having used a ski lift or surface lift of a ski area, must no ski under a manmade barrier that is designed to prohibit a skier from entering a closed portion of the ski area or from leaving any part of the ski area. For the purpose of this section, a barrier may be designated by roping off an area. Any skier that violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.

In this case, based on the facts from various articles, the skier probably should have been fined ducking a rope by himself and disappearing for four hours.

However, several other news stories reported the US Forest Service side of the story which says skiing on US Forest Service land is not illegal. See the article in the local paper, The Record Courier: Skiing out of bounds is not a crime. It is a fairly well written article.

The article states that three people needed rescued after exiting through ski area gates.

Every ski area concessionaire’s contract I’ve seen requires at least one gate allowing access from the ski area to US Forest Service land. Consequently, the ski area cannot say the person violated any of their rules about ducking a rope or going out of bounds because it is required.

At the same time, it is legal to be on US Forest Service land unless the US Forest Service closes the land. So far, the US Forest Service only closes land to certain types of vehicles or for the land to recover. No winter closures have ever occurred to my knowledge.

California does have a statute that allows law enforcement to close land based on Avalanche risk. However, the actual authority to close US Forest Service land vests only with the US Forest Service. Here is the California Statute:

§ 409.6.  Power of peace officers to close area after avalanche; Unauthorized entry

(a) Whenever a menace to the public health or safety is created by an avalanche, officers of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, police departments, or sheriff’s offices, any officer or employee of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated a peace officer by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, and any officer or employee of the Department of Parks and Recreation designated a peace officer by subdivision (f) of Section 830.2, may close the area where the menace exists for the duration thereof by means of ropes, markers, or guards to any and all persons not authorized by that officer to enter or remain within the closed area.

If an avalanche creates an immediate menace to the public health, the local health officer may close the area where the menace exists pursuant to the conditions which are set forth above in this section.

(b) Officers of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, police departments, or sheriff’s offices, or officers of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated as peace officers by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, may close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post or any other command post activated for the purpose of abating hazardous conditions created by an avalanche to any and all unauthorized persons pursuant to the conditions which are set forth in this section whether or not that field command post or other command post is located near the avalanche.

(c) Any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) and who willfully remains within that area, or any unauthorized person who willfully remains within an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), after receiving notice to evacuate or leave from a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. If necessary, a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b) may use reasonable force to remove from the closed area any unauthorized person who willfully remains within that area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section.

So if you are not in California where the land was allegedly was closed, and you duck a rope to ski US Forest Service land can you be criminally charged? Yes. However, only if a specific set of facts have occurred, and this can probably never happen.

If the ski area boundary rope is on the boundary of the concessionaire’s permit with the US Forest Service then ducking the rope is not illegal. You can legally gain access to the US Forest Service land. However, the boundary rope must be on the US Forest Service land or right on the border.

However, ski areas do not place their boundary ropes on the US Forest Service land. The boundary ropes are always offset from the boundary. If you duck a rope and enter closed ski area land, then you have committed two crimes under most state statutes.

You have ducked a rope, and you have trespassed onto closed land.

More importantly don’t be an idiot. You ski or board out of bounds, that triggers a search for your butt; I hope they do find you and fine you. The hard-working VOLUNTEER men and women of county Search and Rescue units have enough idiots to find every year. Don’t add your name to their list.

See Tahoe man cited for skiing out of bounds

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Backcountry Magazine and G3 are giving away G3 gear, ‘Tis The Season For Backcountry Goodness


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G3’s most popular video series is back. In #G3POV Episode 3, get James McSkimming’s skier’s eye view of a steep, exposed and ‘not-so-deep’ descent in the Tantalus Range, Squamish, BC, Canada.

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Colorado Avalanche Information Center has a new Email Design: Informative and Easy to Understand


Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
Front Range



Winds have finally backed off their mission of stripping away the November 10 to 16 storm snow. Temperatures have finally started to warm too, and the valley inversions have begun to ease. Our over-riding avalanche problem remains the Persistent Slab. Reported activity has started to slow, but the persistent weak layer that created the problem still exists.
Fresh loading of snow into starting zones backed off quite a bit beginning yesterday, so that helps relieve some of the building tension in the snowpack that ramped up with wind speeds last weekend. Our snowpack will be in a general holding pattern until our next storm cycle appears later this coming weekend.


What You Need to Know About These Avalanches

Persistent slabs can be triggered by light loads and weeks after the last storm. You can trigger them remotely and they often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine wind and storm slabs. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to handle the uncertainty.


What You Need to Know About These Avalanches

Wind slabs can take up to a week to stabilize. They are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features and can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft

Issued Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 6:36 AM by Scott Toepfer

Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (ºF) 22 to 27 10 to 15 22 to 27
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 7 to 17 8 to 18
Wind Direction W W W
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0-Tr AM 0 to Tr 0

© 2008-2014 Colorado Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.

7th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash Breckenridge Riverwalk Center: You Ski, You Should Be There!


7th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash

Presented By: Backcountry Access, Voile, Weston Snowboards, Vail Resorts Epic Promise, Arc’teryx, Black Diamond, and Freeride Systems

Saturday, November 8, 2014

5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Breckenridge Riverwalk Center

150 West Adams Ave

Breckenridge, CO 80424


More info:

The Friends of the CAIC are proud to host the Seventh Annual CAIC Benefit Bash, a benefit for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), on Friday, Nov. 8, 2014 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Mountain enthusiasts are invited to rally together and support CAIC in their continued efforts of avalanche forecasting and education throughout Colorado. This winter kick-off staple features live music from Shakedown Street, an array of tasty food from local restaurants and incredible beer from Colorado’s own, New Belgium Brewery. Don’t miss out on the Benefit Bash’s massive silent auction, live auction and thousands of dollars worth of door prizes and giveaways.

Also, don’t forget to book your hotel rooms. Beaver Run Resort is offering discounted rates for our attendees. Rooms can be booked by calling Beaver Run group reservations at 1-800-525-2253 and mentioning the CAIC Benefit Bash.

We are looking forward to another great event!

Updates from the Mammut Barryvox Avalanche Beacon

Mammut presents
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Mammut Barryvox News

photo: jeremy bernard

PULSE Barryvox update: Mammut presents “the intelligent search”

After an avalanche, every second counts, as after just 15 minutes the chances of survival for anyone buried under the snow drop dramatically.

Our developers have been working intensively to optimize our Barryvox. The result is a simplified and even more effective search for buried subjects following an avalanche. The improved graphics-guided and audio-supported fine search revolutionizes fine searching in a cross (bracketing) in the last few meters.

From the middle of October 2013, the update to firmware 4.0 will be available from your authorized Mammut Barryvox Service Center!

Photo: Jeremy Bernard


Details of the PULSE Barryvox update

PULSE Barryvox

PULSE Barryvox: Digital/analog combo device with three antennas

Overview of key features:1. Easy to use thanks to a clear operating concept

2. Precise location thanks to a 360° display and 3 antennas

3. Time saving thanks to an overview in the event of several buried subjects

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PULSE Barryvox

Don’t forget the Barryvox winter check!

Switch the device on and note the display for the self-test and battery test. We also recommend inspecting the device for any signs of mechanical damage to the housing, contamination or damage to the battery contacts, as well as making sure that the main switch is working correctly. If any inconsistencies are identified during these checks, you must send the device to a Mammut Barryvox Service Center.

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New Ski Graphics Contest and Time to Get Stoked for Winter Video

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Share Your Thoughts. Win Skis.

September 2013

G3 Newsletter

Story Image Bust out some popcorn.

Pre Winter Stoke Video

If this is what this gear can do in a weekend, we can’t wait to see what winter has in store. Take a peek at the new gear!

Watch >


Story Image Update Your Profile. Share Your Thoughts. Enter to Win.

G3 Customer Survey

As part of our commitment to enhancing your safety and enjoyment in the backcountry, we’d like to learn more about you.

Please take 1 minute to update your email subscription profile, and 5 minutes to complete our survey. You’ll be entered for a chance to win G3’s new ZenOxide C3 105 skis.

Enter Now >


Story Image It’s Back with a new twist.

SheGraphiks Contest

G3’s fabled SkiGraphiks contest is back, with a twist. Partnering with Backcountry Babes, the SheGraphiks Contest features the biggest and most playful womens ski G3 has ever made; the Empress 115.

Get Creative >




American Avalanche Association Job Openings


The American Avalanche Association is currently seeking persons to fill two vacancies on AAA’s Management Team: Executive Director and AVPRO Course Coordinator. AVPRO is the AAA’s Professional Avalanche Worker School. Both positions are part-time paid positions.

The Executive Director runs the daily operations of the AAA and provides support to all AAA committees and The Avalanche Review. Additionally, the Director represents the AAA at avalanche industry events such as the ISSW, NAS, and regional meetings and seminars. This is a part-time year round position. Qualified individuals need not be AAA Members.

The AVPRO Course Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of scheduling and planning one to two AVPRO course per winter. Candidates must be AAA Professional Members and AAA Certified Instructors or have the required experience to become a Certified Instructor.

Complete position descriptions can be found on the AAA Employment Page at this link;

Thank you, the AAA Governing Board

2 Weeks left in G3 Long Live Winter Giveaway

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Long Live Winter!

April 2013 e-newsletter

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Story Image 2 Weeks Left – Enter To Win

Touring Season Giveaway

Ski touring season is in its prime. If you haven’t already entered to win this stack of touring gear from G3, there’s still 2 weeks to get in there.

Win a $500 touring gear package! We’re giving it away to one lucky e-newsletter subscriber. Gotta be in it to win it!

Enter to Win


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Subscriber Specials

From Climbing Skins to Utility Straps, Probes to Rutschblock Cords, we’ve got your back in the backcountry this spring.

There’s still 2 weeks left to shop G3’s e-newsletter Subscriber Specials. We’ve bundled our favourite touring gear and thrown in some FREE G3 swag to say thanks.

We’ve also extended the FREE Shipping on orders over $50 (terms and conditions apply).

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Winter Ain’t Over Yet. Long Live Touring Season!
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G3 Contest for Backcountry Touring Gear

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Gear Up For Touring Season

March 2013 e-newsletter

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Touring Season Giveaway

Ski season ain’t over yet. Make the most of the long days and spring weather… touring season is here.

Win a $500 touring gear package! We’re giving it away to one lucky e-newsletter subscriber. Gotta be in it to win it!

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Subscriber Specials

From Climbing Skins to Utility Straps, Probes to Rutschblock Cords, we’ve got your back in the backcountry this spring.

For our e-newsletter subscribers only, we’ve bundled up some of our favourite gear and thrown in some FREE G3 swag to say thanks.

We’ve also extended the FREE Shipping on orders over $50 (terms and conditions apply).

Shop Specials


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Winter Ain’t Over Yet. Long Live Touring Season!
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By Recreation Law   James H. Moss                  Jim Moss

Avalanche Center 2012-13 Newsletter #02

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Avalanche Institute

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An Update from the Avalanche Center
December 5, 2012 [Previous, November 1 ] – [Next, ? ] – [Updates Archive Index]

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Introduction, From the Director

This is long overdue and there is a lot to do at the moment so this update will be brief with links to the few key projects mentioned. In a nutshell: we are running an auction this year, we have some news on the Avalanche Institute, and our budgeting for the past season is complete.

As for budgeting, our less than perfect but pretty decent accounting shows us exactly breaking even last season. Which is a necessary improvement over the previous two seasons. For the project to continue we need your support. We are into the third month of this season and according to a rough tally of store revenue (mostly) and donations (a few) we should have raised enough to cover the first two months. Marginally at least. We are still working on borrowed funds in a sense since we’re selling products we have not yet had to pay for. So please help out if you support avalanche safety!

Shirt Sale – We still have a few shirts on sale (and watch the auction as well). Short sleeves L and XL only, they are $15 including the shipping. You can get yours here:

Auction (and Store)

We did not seek product donations this season but we are still having an annual auction. We have items from recent years that nobody won or claimed, and we also have some store inventory to include. Past donations on auction this year include a nice Columbia ski jacket and some MSR Lightening snowshoes with extra tails as well as small items such as sunscreen, sno-seal, and more. (Not everything is posted yet, hopefully by the end of Wednesday.) Store items include a lot of probes, some books, a study kit, and probably a few more things. We have a Float 32 pack to auction, we had to include one in a preseason order and can’t afford to keep it around until it sells at retail. (Store items are also still being added, again with a goal of Wed.)

As in the past we may offer some items, including beacons, as short term incentives. We post these for a few days at a time. Despite promoting them they usually go for very low bids so keep checking in.

Finally, you can auction your own items off. We have never promoted this much but one year a supporter posted some skis and they were quickly sold. So you never know, and it’s free. We do not charge or take any commission but we do hope that if you sell something you’ll donate a percentage to the cause. Or auction it entirely for our benefit and one supporter did with a pack one year.

Other than the auction the store is still slowly being updated. It’s mostly there but some things are still out of date.

Right now the Ortovox line is completely up to date and to celebrate the shopping cart will automatically deduct 20% from any Ortovox product. This replaces the previous BCA discount/sale. The members discount applies on top of this which amounts to a really great deal for this time of year. There is no set expiration date, it could end tomorrow! (OK, it’s not ending tomorrow, but beyond that we haven’t decided.)

If you find and report any problems, such as an item not automatically being discounted, we will look into it and send you a free shirt if it turns out that we need to fix something.

We also have a new special on the clearance page. The two old style G3 probes were sold on e-bay and we are now selling a Life-Link 246 Carbon probe.

Education – Avalanche Institute

We have some progress on the Avalanche Institute, primarily for store customers and avalanche center members. Members that are logged into the avalanche center can register themselves in the Avalanche Institute on their own. Once registered there they can go through the probe and shovel mini-courses as well as an introductory module at no cost. There is now a screen-capture video demonstrating how members can register, login, and subscribe to the few free (mini-)courses. For most modules an administrator still needs to add users after registration and payment but this is easier and quicker if you already have an account. For non-members an admin will still need to create your account. (The video is linked to public home page.)

Anyone who purchases a beacon can take Module 2 (Safe Travel and Equipment) and Module 3 (Rescue), as well as Module 1 which is a short general background prerequisite. We have not promoted this benefit enough yet but we hope to be able to contact this seasons beacon customers directly to invite them to do this soon. (If you purchased a beacon you are a member so you can register in the institute as demonstrated in that video. As long as you first register on the main avalanche center and then log in.)

As mentioned above, there are two mini-courses that are free to purchasers of probes and/or shovels as well as to members. These cover useful information that often gets lost in the rush of a full weekend course. These mini-courses are too brief to be able to apply them towards any full modules or courses, but in addition to the educational value they also introduce the Dokeos platform we use, the type of structured learning path typically used, and how quizzes work

2011-2012 Budget

For the most part what there is to say about this was said at the top. If you’d like to have a look at our budget, both last seasons and historically, there are a few pages: the 2011-12 final summary, a historical overview, and a (rather discouraging) contribution history.

On Tap …

The auction and the Avalanche Institute are current priorities. There is more on the institute that will need to wait until the next update. With the auction running that will not be long. In addition, the Incidents section still needs to be completed for last season and started for this season. This follows closely in the priority list behind the auction and educational work but resources are extremely limited.

Even though labor has always been almost entirely donated the spectre of paying overhead costs is always there and the biggest thing that helps the project right now is to contribute. Purchasing your equipment from us helps a lot too and includes membership as well as access to educational material. And right now you can help promote the auction – if you are on Facebook share our event, repost relevant posts, and invite others to the event.


We are up to 1704 friends and 205 subscribers on Facebook – are you one of them? If you are have you suggested us to any of your friends?

Jim Frankenfield
Executive Director

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Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Want the best snow reports for this winter season: Become a member of CAIC, the reports are free, but it’s cheap to find out where the real powder, not what some resort says! Join and maybe save your life.

Starting this season, we will no longer require a donation to receive forecasts via email. From now on you can get all of our mountain weather and avalanche products on the web, phone line via Twitter, or email for free. We have wanted to make this change for quite some time. It is a financial gamble for us, but we feel it is the right thing to do. Avalanche safety information should be free and readily available to everyone that needs it.

This change, and all the new features for the 2011-2012 season will move to our live website next week. This is later than we would like, but testing the features has taken longer than we expect. As a result, many of you received a renewal notice this week. I am sorry that this message went out and for the confusion it caused. We have extended everyone’s subscriptions, so you will keep getting the emails you were signed up for last season. By Thanksgiving everyone will be able to sign up for a free account so they can send us observations and get forecasts via email.

We still need your financial support. Although our funding appears to be stable, these are hard times for everyone and no one knows the future of any government program. Backcountry use in our state increases every year and we are constantly trying to provide a better service. Please support the Friends of the CAIC through one of their events, make a donation through their website or donate directly to the CAIC through the Geological Survey’s website. You can always send comments, suggestions and donations to:

325 Broadway WS1
Boulder, CO 80305

Thank you for all of your support in the past and I hope the services we provide continue to deserve your support now and in the future.

Ethan Greene
Director, CAIC


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Avalanche: Man-Made Snow to the Ground

In one of the most bizarre occurences an avalanche occured in the Midwest.

during the fall of 2006 at the Indian ski resort Perfect North Slope. This central Indiana resort was making snow on bare ground, as is common at most resorts. After a night of snow making the staff arrived to see the slope had avalanched.

Not enough research was done on this avalanche but several firsts or at least extremely unusual things occurred during this avalanche

  • ·An avalanche occurred in the Midwest
  • ·The avalanche was composed of 100% man made snow
  • ·The avalanche slid on bare ground with no snow layer below

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