This year’s Northern Rockies Snow and Avalanche Workshop in Whitefish has drawn another panel of experts to enlighten winter sports enthusiasts about safe backcountry travel.
The Northern Rockies Snow and Avalanche Workshop (NRSAW) is a one-day winter safety conference dedicated to improving avalanche related decision making skills for winter backcountry professionals and enthusiasts. There will be a variety of speakers, a fantastic raffle, and vendors of avalanche safety gear, winter equipment, and snow machines.
The seventh annual gathering is November 4th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish, with a limited number of tickets selling for $25 in advance. The public is encouraged to attend. Participants can register online at www.flatheadavalanchecenter.org
“The workshop has become staple of the Flathead Valley backcountry skiing and snowmobiling community as an opportunity to hit refresh before the winter gets rolling,” said Zach Miller, a workshop committee member who also serves as an avalanche class instructor in the valley. “With an ever-growing demand for avalanche education in Northwest Montana, NRSAW offers both enthusiasts and professionals the chance to learn from and engage with experts in the avalanche field.”
This year’s event is highlighted by six presentations covering a variety of avalanche-related topics that will provide insight into the technical and human elements of avalanche safety. Speakers to this year’s workshop bring a variety backgrounds with extensive expertise. Zach Guy, the new director of the Flathead Avalanche Center, will present on how our brains can trick us into poor decision-making in the backcountry. Ted Steiner, the lead avalanche safety consultant for BNSF Railway snow safety program will speak on managing uncertainty with a recap on last winter’s extreme avalanche cycle. Scott Savage, the director of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, will give two presentations examining how memories can fail us in avalanche terrain and about common mistakes and new tools to prevent avalanche accidents. A local group of experienced riders will narrate their near miss with an avalanche in the Swan Range last winter. Finally, Jen Parsons and former FAC Director Erich Peitzsch will share their thoughts on the incredibly tragic avalanche accident last year involving Ben Parsons.
“The community is lucky to have an event like this in the valley. It takes a lot of dedicated volunteers and sponsors to host this opportunity for everyone. Ted Steiner and Steve Burgland were instrumental in getting the ball rolling seven years ago, and now we have a whole team of volunteers working to put it on,” said
Zach Guy with the Flathead Avalanche Center. “The workshop is not only a tremendous learning resource, but also a great way to network, mingle with your backcountry peers, and offer up a few hi-fives for the coming winter. We want to instill that sense of community camaraderie so that everyone is looking out for each other and sharing their stories or observations. That way we all make safer decisions in the backcountry and come home at the end of the day.”
The Flathead Avalanche Center is administered by the Flathead National Forest in partnership with the Friends of the Flathead Avalanche Center. For more information call Flathead Avalanche Director, Zach Guy at 406-758-5220.