“I am no expert” said the avalanche professional to his class.  That is what my mentors have been saying to me and what I have been conveying to my students over the years.  Avalanche education is a lifelong journey that progresses one step at a time. We all are avalanche apprentices.  This was one of the many things several Babes learned this past weekend at our Women’s  AIARE Avalanche Level I Course. Watch the video.  AIARE=American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Day one was spent indoors at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.  A plethora of information was presented including the Avalanche Phenomenon, a formula for decision-making, snowpack, weather, terrain, human factors and beacon practice. The Babes snacked on Clif Bloks and mojo bars to keep the energy high. Digging through their swag bags revealed Bridgedale Sock, Clif products, Elemental Herb- herbal cool, lip balm and sunscreen and a Pistil Designs styli hat.

Day two, we headed outside to stick out heads in the snow.  Off to the Valley Floor of Loveland Pass (on the ABasin side) for some pit digging and terrain obs.  Typical CO weather.  The conditions quickly changed from sunny to cold and blowing.

Aha – Wind transport possible Loading slopes…increasing the avalanche hazard?

Day 3- up Spruce Creek Road towards the Crystal Lakes Basin.  A quick stop into Francie’s Cabin to warm up the fingers and then out for some travel techniques and a few turns. Each Babe took responsiblity for one aspect of the tour – beacon range and function test, route finding, travel plans, rescue lead and medical point person.

If you still want to take an avalanche class this winter, check out the Babes San Juan AIARE Avalanche Level 1 on March 4-6th.  For more of a social backcountry experience with yoga, wine tasting, turns or snow shoeing, join the Babes for our Spring Hut Trip on April 22-23.

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