It has been snowing in Crested Butte for what seems like over a week straight now. Too much of a good thing. With all this snow the avalanche danger has been HIGH for about a week. There have been accidents, close calls, zero visibility, shoveling, more shoveling, skiing low angle powder, and a little complaining.

Avalanche courses seem to be a very popular item this winter (and every winter I suppose). Despite the economic crisis, people still want to go backcountry skiing, and still want to avoid being killed in an avalanche (gasp!).

I’m headed out to the new maroon hut out in the Gothic Townsite for Crested Butte Mountain Guide’s unique hut based level I avalanche course! I’ll try to post regularly as the new hut reportedly has wireless internet! Now I just have to figure out how to pack my beast of a laptop.

Anyways, here is a short video I shot this past weekend while teaching a Level I course for a group of great Western State College Recreation mgmt majors who are headed to the French Alps in a couple weeks… 

There really isn’t much footage to look at, becasue as I mentioned before the danger was HIGH and I was pre-occupied with the task at hand. What you are seeing here is part of the “dual function check” used to confirm that our avalanche beacons are working properly. This check verifies that both the send and search functions are working properly and is always done as we leave the trailhead while backcountry skiing.  The second part of the video is the result of a Rutchblock. 

[vimeo 2571074]

Here is the sequence- one person (guide) runs the show.

-Everyone pull out beacon and turn – ON – check battery life

-‘Everyone Switch to SEARCH’- guide stays in SEND- walks around to every skier making sure they are getting guide’s signal.

-‘Everyone Switch to SEND, and put ’em away where they’re gonna live for the day’- guide switch to SEARCH and checks everyone individually to insure that they are SENDING!.- (performed by kyle mattingly in video)

PART 2- Rutchblock TEST! take a course if you want to learn more about the rutchblock…

Going to pack…


Mike Bromberg

Mike Bromberg