Going Beyond the Signs? BE PREPARED.
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed by passionate Brundage Mountain visitors who like to experience fresh powder and awesome terrain outside the patrolled and controlled parts of the ski area.
Brundage Mountain wants everyone to know that having the right equipment and training is essential to having a safe backcountry experience. Those epic powder lines are spectacular. They are also potentially dangerous. Know before you go.
Be smart. Here’s how:
- Watch for hazards. The backcountry is littered with hazards, including the threat of avalanches. There are no ski patrol services, rescue may be at your own expense.
- Educate yourself before you leave the Brundage Ski Area boundary, you do so at your own risk.
- Ski and ride in groups. Bring a cell phone, avalanche beacon, shovel and probe at all times.
- Be conscious of daylight. Brundage does not ever patrol the backcountry. Getting lost sucks. Getting lost at night REALLY sucks.
- Have a meet-up plan. Pick a spot to reconvene if your group splits up.
- Wear a helmet.
- Respect your ability level.
- Pay attention to the signs; they’re there for you.
There are many aspects to consider when learning to travel safely in the backcountry. Brundage Mountain has installed a BCA Beacon Park to aid in one aspect of safety training, but it is important to remember that the best way to survive an avalanche is TO AVOID ONE.
Here are some key aspects of AVALANCHE SAFETY:
- Recognize Red Flags
- Identify Avalanche Terrain
- Travel Safely in the Backcountry
- Perform a Rescue
You can learn more about the importance of these steps in this short, informative tutorial provided by avalanche.org.
You may also find this site to be informative.
Those unfamiliar with backcountry skiing and snowboarding may think that an avalanche beacon is designed to predict avalanches.
Harboring misconceptions about the purpose and usage of a beacon is a very dangerous thing when traveling in the backcountry. Before you attempt to head beyond the boundaries, you’ll want to understand what a beacon does, how it works and how you can effectively use one.
Each brand of avalanche beacon works differently, here are some resources to help you decide which type is right for you.
Before entering the backcountry, you should practice using your beacon and get familiar with the techniques of using one for finding a victim. The time to learn is not when your buddy is buried. You should also be certain that others in your party know how to use their beacons; your life could be in their hands.
In order to help you practice these skills, Brundage Mountain has installed a Backcountry Access Beacon Training Park. BTPs are training systems created to make it easier for recreationists and pros to practice with their transceivers. You can find the Brundage Mountain Beacon Training Park on the west side of the main lodge.
- It features four permanently buried transmitters wired to a central control panel. The control panel is bright yellow and located on the tan building you see here.
- To change the practice scenario, just flick the on/off switches on the control panel.
- Instead of digging holes and reburying beacons all day, you spend your valuable time actually practicing with your transceiver.
It is highly recommended that anyone traveling in the backcountry take an avalanche training course.
The Payette Avalanche Center and Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center offer avalanche awareness courses regularly. Please contact the Payette Avalanche Center for more information.
Payette Powder Guides also offers Avalanche Awareness courses throughout the winter months. You can view the schedule of classes here.
(Some information provided by Backcountry Access and Avalanche.org)