Annual event helps round out funding for daily backcountry forecasts and education programs
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s never to early to start planning for a good thing, and the third annual Friends of the Avalanche Center fundraiser is about as good as it gets. Along with massive piles of ski and snowboard schwag, the Nov. 13 event at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center raises a big chunk of cash — $39,000 last year — that goes directly toward supporting the center’s operations and providing the daily forecasts used by thousands of backcountry skiers and snowboarders each week. Check out the CAIC here.
The silent auction this year includes — get ready — a spot in a week-long heliski guide school, season passes at local resorts, skis, avy gear, as well as a mouth-watering spread, beer from the New Belgium brewery and live music from Zen Mustache, a Denver band with a groovy sound. Check them here. Any band that includes a line about climbing trees in the wind is alright in my book!
Organizer Aaron Carlson said his goal this year is to raise $50,000, which would go a long way toward filling in some of the soft spots in the CAIC’s annual budget. The avalanche center operates under the auspices of state government, and part of its operating costs are covered from various sources, which have included the oil and gas severance tax fund, as well as money from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which relies on CAIC forecasts to keep the mountain passes open and safe for passenger and freight traffic.
But some years, the center scrambles to find solid funding for some of the day-to-day programs used by you and me, including the avalanche hazard bulletins we use before venturing into the Beavers or the East Vail chutes, as well as outreach and education programs. Three years ago, a major Front Range fundraiser fell through, and that’s when Carlson and his friend, Joe Vandal stepped in to bring the much-needed event home to the high country.
Basically, Carlson and Vandal decided that, instead of moaning about the lack of funding, they would do something about it. Breckenridge stepped up and offered to host the event, and they were off and running, with donations from a multitude of sponsors.
Colorado has one of the most dangerous snowpacks in North America. On average, about one-third of the annual avalanche deaths in the U.S. occur in Colorado, and the CAIC’s mission is to minimize the economic and human impact of snow avalanches on the recreation, tourism, and commerce
The Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is a non‐profit 501(c)3 organization created to support the CAIC, while contributing to avalanche awareness and education throughout the State of Colorado. They achieve this mission through donations, grants, and fundraising events.
If you think avalanche forecasting, education, and awareness is important in Colorado, then this party is for you. A $25 donation at the door includes one door prize ticket, two beer tickets, dinner, and entertainment from Zen Mustache.
For more information or to purchase tickets online go to www.friendsofcaic.org.
Filed under: search and rescue, ski industry, Ski Resorts, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | avalanches, backcountry skiing, CAIC, CAIC benefit bash, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, skiing and riding, snowboarding, Summit County News, Summit County snow