Avalanche safety workshop set for Whitefish

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The ninth annual Northern Rockies Snow and Avalanche Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish.

The one-day workshop, put on by the Flathead Avalanche Center, will features a panel of experts who will speak to winter avalanche safety and decision-making skills for backcountry professionals and enthusiasts. Panelists for the evening include Kelly Elder with the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Colorado, Lloyd Morsett with the Whitefish Mountain Resort and Aleph Johnston-Bloom with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center in Alaska.

“The need for avalanche education and awareness continues to grow in Northwest Montana, with more and more people recreating in the winter backcountry,” said Zach Guy, Flathead Avalanche Center director. “Last season alone, there were 25 avalanche fatalities in the U.S, and in our region, we received reports of nine accidents that resulted in injuries, near misses, and one fatality. If you are planning on heading out into the backcountry this winter, this is a great opportunity to tune your avalanche knowledge and keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe.”

In addition to a variety of speakers, the day will be filled with a raffle and vendors of avalanche safety gear, winter equipment, and snow machines.

“Regional avalanche workshops like NRSAW are the best bang for your buck in avalanche education,” said Morsett, the event chair and snow safety coordinator for Whitefish Mountain Resort. “Come network, mingle with your backcountry peers, and get excited for this coming winter.”

The workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can register for the conference and buy tickets at flatheadavalanche.org. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door.

The Flathead Avalanche Center is a program provided by Flathead National Forest, and is funded by Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park and donations to Friends of the Flathead Avalanche Center. The Type 1 Center staffs four full-time forecast and observer staff and provides daily avalanche forecasts for three geographic regions: the Swan Range, the Whitefish Range, and the Flathead Range and Glacier National Park.

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