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A-Basin’s Beacon Bowl coming up this weekend

A contestant in the 2012 Beacon Bowl at A-Basin zeroes in on a buried beacon.

A contestant in the 2012 Beacon Bowl at A-Basin zeroes in on a buried beacon.

In it’s 11th year, the popular A-Basin event morphs into a two-day rescue clinic; proceeds benefit the CAIC

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The two most recent avalanche deaths in Colorado show the continued need for avalanche education and rescue training in the state that historically tallies the majority of accidents each season.

Both deaths occurred in remote areas, where the skiers had to rely on their own rescue skills to try and recover buried victims. In those situations, speedy location, recovery and timely first-aid can make the difference between life and death.

One of the best ways to prepare for the almost unthinkable is to practice rescues in the field, simulating a real-life rescue scenario, and this weekend, Arapahoe Basin and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center offer a chance to do just that with the annual rescue clinic, which has morphed into a two-day event (Feb. 8-9) from the traditional Beacon Bowl. Continue reading

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Colorado skiing: Test your avalanche search & rescue skills and some new gear at Arapahoe Basin’s annual Beacon Bowl

Pros and amateurs test their beacon skills; along with joining clinics and demos of new gear

Arapahoe Basin Beacon Bowl

A participant in the 2010 Beacon Bowl at Arapahoe Basin prepares to deploy a probe after locating a buried signal with an avalanche transceiver.

A beacon search during the A-Basin Beacon Bowl, 2010.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —If you got a new avalanche beacon for Christmas but haven’t taken it out of the box yet, this coming weekend might be a good time to test it at the Feb. 11 Beacon Bowl at Arapahoe Basin.

The annual event is huge fundraiser for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and a chance to measure your beacon search skills in a competitive setting, with the adrenaline flowing — the follow up with ongoing practice sessions, because statistics show that rescue experts who practice on a regular basis are about twice as fast at finding and uncovering a buried victim than the average recreational user.

That’s critical in an avalanche rescue situation, because the odds of surviving a burial drop rapidly after the first 15 minutes, and outside help is unlikely to arrive within that that timespan after a backcountry slide.

“That 15 minutes goes by really fast,” said Dale Atkins, president of the American Avalanche Association. Continue reading

Avalanche rescue: From bliss to terror

Blowing snow and medium-size, natural release soft slab avalanche in a closed area at Loveland in Dec. 2008. PHOTO COURTESY DALE ATKINS RECCO AB.

A-Basin’s Beacon Bowl is coming up. How prepared are you to rescue your backcountry ski partner? And how prepared is your partner?

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — One second, you’re on top of the world, floating blissfully through a foot of crystalline powder, but an instant later — just as long as it takes a 150-foot slab of snow to crack loose — all hell breaks loose.

Instead of dancing gracefully with the mountain, you’re suddenly in the icy arms of a much crueler mistress who aims to batter your body, snap your bones, plug your mouth and nose with snow, and finally trap you and crush you in an icy tomb. Just before the snow stops heaving, you lunge and swim and thrust your upper body toward daylight.

It’s not enough. Darkness and silence, except for the pulsing thunder of your heart. You’re lucky, because there’s small airspace in front of your mouth, but with every exhalation, it becomes more ice-like, blocking what little flow of air there might be under three feet of dense snow. Soon, it will be a mask of death.

You try to remember when you last practiced an avalanche rescue with your ski partner. Since you survived the initial slide, your chances of survival are nine in 10 if she finds you within 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, only about half the buried victims survive, after 45 minutes, only a quarter.

There’s no time to call for a search and rescue team, to wait for an avalanche dog or the Flight for Life chopper. Your life is in your partner’s hands. Continue reading

Beacon Bowl at A-Basin benefits Avalanche Center

Avalanche expert Halsted Morris locates a buried beacon and prepares to probe. PHOTO COURTESY DALE ATKINS, RECCO AB.

Feb. 6 event features beacon contest, snowpit workshops, avy dog demo, raffles, auctions and après ski fun

SUMMIT COUNTY —  Arapahoe Basin will host the eighth annual Beacon Bowl and Avalanche Awareness Day this Saturday, Feb. 6. The event benefits the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The Beacon Bowl is an event developed by A-Basin’s ski patrol to teach and test skills for the backcountry. Patrol will start the day at 10 a.m. with the Beacon Bowl competition. This event is an avalanche transceiver competition for recreational and professional levels.

Free beacon clinics with A-Basin ski patrol and Back Country Access will take place from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. An avalanche dog and snow pit demonstration by the A-Basin ski patrol is set for 1 p.m. The clinics and demonstrations will take place on mountain at the base of the Lenawee Mountain lift.

A telemark clinic will also be held for all abilities from 9:55 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. or 1:15 – 3:30 for $55.

Registration is in the A-Frame starting at 8:00 a.m. A $20 registration fee for the Beacon Bowl will be donated to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and will include a raffle ticket, a beverage and a slice of pizza at the après ski party.

Incredible prizes will be awarded to the top finishers of the Beacon Bowl. A raffle, silent and live auction will be held for lift tickets, ski passes, an A-Basin avalanche school registration, a Chicago Ridge cat tour, gear from Hestra, NTN and Flylow, Avalanche tickets, concert tickets, a New Belgium cruiser bike and more to benefit the CAIC.

An après ski party and the live auction start at 3:30 p.m. on the first floor of the A-Frame sponsored by New Belgium Brewery.  Pizza and beer sales will also be donated to the CAIC.

Registration will be at A-Basin on the day of the event. For additional information please contact A-Basin at 888-ARAPAHOE or visit A-Basin on the web.

~Info from an A-Basin press release

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