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Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association Holds Avalanche Training

Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association

The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association is holding an avalanche training at the Park City Library in the Jim Santy Auditorium Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm. The Association says that the introductory training is crucial for those who plan to venture into the back country.

Kira Solomon with the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association says they mad e the Tuesday evening event free and accessible, so it can serve as an introduction to avalanche training.

“Our presenter this year is Craig Gordon. He also spoke last year, I’m really glad to have him back. He’s a forecaster from the Utah Avalanche Center. He’s charismatic, he’s funny, he’s a great speaker and so I’m really happy that he’s able to join us again. His particular subject is the current state of the snowpack. How did we get here and where are we going? Everyone has questions about what will this winter be like? No forecaster can say with perfect certainty what that will be like but that he will give it a shot. Try and tell us a little bit about what’s to come. That isn’t necessarily as important as what is happening right now. He has to go back through the history of our snowfall so far and explain to people what’s on the ground right now and what do those layers look like. Why is that problematic or why is that a good thing? Explain what does that snowpack look like as far as its safety level for back country skiers.”

Solomon says that the training isn’t just for back country skiers.

“The user groups are varied. There have been snowshoer triggered avalanches and of course snowmobile triggered avalanches in addition to the skiers. There are hikers that have sometimes from below triggered avalanches. It’s a broad user group and we want to try to invite them all. Know that it’s not just about skiing, if you get out and enjoy the snow in this area it’s something to think about.”

The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association takes care of mitigating the risk of avalanches within ski area boundaries.

“If someone’s brand new to skiing and they hear about avalanches and that’s intimidating, know that you can go to a resort and ski patrollers have already gone out in the morning and done mitigation work to make that slope safe for you to ski it. So, ski on. Enjoy, but if you are going outside that boundary it’s a completely different animal and that’s what we’re trying to address in talks like this and encouraging people to seek out their own avalanche education. Because if you are going to leave the boundary there’s been no avalanche mitigation and you’re stepping into terrain where perhaps you trigger an avalanche and we don’t want people to go into that terrain or that situation uneducated.”

The organization is also leading a canned goods drive.

“Partnering with the Savory Kitchen in the Silver King Hotel at the Park City Base area. Also, we’re partnering with The Mine bouldering gym in Kimball Junction. Those two businesses are going to have drop boxes. So, we will collect canned goods in those drop boxes between December 10th and the 23rd. Then all those canned goods are delivered to the Christian Center here in Park City, just in time for the holidays.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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