What better place to upgrade snow safety skills than the ski area that holds the world record for snowfall (1,140 inches in 1998 -1999). Washington’s Mt. Baker deals with big, deep snow, and the ski area’s Mountain Education Center is readying to launch its winter programs, which include snow safety, avalanche safety, and a beacon rally.
Programs kick off the first weekend in January with a free community education event Jan. 8. The Baker Beacon Rally offers a chance for beginners to learn how to use beacons and experienced users to refresh their skills. The event, which takes place 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Heather Meadows, includes instruction, a beacon race, and raffle prizes.
A beacon or transceiver is only useful if you know how to use it. Photo by Becky Lomax.
Classes in Snow Safety Awareness and Introduction to Transceiver Use continue to be offered in January and February. The seven-hour, one-day class combines learning about avalanches, risk management, and decision-making with practical in the field exercises.
Four classes are offered this winter: Jan. 21, Jan. 29, Feb. 11, and Feb. 26. The classes cost $35. You can bring your own beacon, probe, and shovel to use, or try out gear that the Mountain Education Center has on hand.
Advanced snow safety classes at Mt. Baker get field experience with snow studies. Photo by Becky Lomax.
More advanced snow safety classes also start up in January. The 21-hour, three-day course targets those who have already taken the introductory level and adds more in depth snow study, terrain analysis, group dynamics, and field exercises.
Three sessions of the course are offered this winter: Jan. 14, 15, 16; Feb. 18, 19, 20; and March 9, 10, 11. The course costs $180, but season passholders at Mt. Baker can get a $10 discount. Participants need to bring their own gear.
Scholarships are available for the programs. Registration for the programs is online here.