Backcountry.com will hold a series of four avalanche safety workshops for women in December in an effort to support snow safety education and build a sense of camaraderie among female skiers and snowboarders.
The workshops will be taught by leading female professional athletes and snow science educators. The workshop series is being marketing under the banner “SAFE-AS,” an acronym for Skiers Advocating and Fostering Education for Avalanche and Snow Safety.
“Just as we focus to provide our customers with top of the line gear and service, we strive to highlight educational programs as a critical piece of the puzzle for the outdoor adventurer,” said Adrian Montgomery, director of brand marketing at backcountry.com. “We believe that presenting programs like SAFE-AS is an informative and engaging way to bring snow safety professionals, our athletes, and everyday female skiers and riders together to join in the common good of sharing knowledge and enjoying good times on snow.”
Led by AIARE avalanche instructor and heli-guide Lel Tone, the workshop’s A-list of educators include: professional skiers and backcountry.com athletes Elyse Saugstad, Ingrid Backstrom, Michelle Parker, and Jackie Paaso, as well certified yoga instructor Sherry McConkey who will lead morning sessions. The ultimate goal of SAFE-AS is to heighten community snow safety and awareness surrounding women’s avalanche knowledge.
The seminars will travel to Snowbird, UT, (Dec. 5), Squaw Valley, Calif., (Dec. 8 and 9), Crystal Mountain, WA., (Dec. 14), and Stevens Pass, WA., (Dec. 15). Each workshop consists of morning yoga, in-class training, on-snow companion rescue training, a healthy lunch, resort skiing and snowboarding, and an après party and raffle. The one-day events run from 7am-5pm, cost $110, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit local non-profits High Fives, Northwest Avalanche Center, and Utah Avalanche Center. Each workshop is limited to 30 people and open to women age 14 and older. Participants are asked to bring their own avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, and backpack.
“We all feel the need to help spread the message about avalanche safety as the progression of skiing continues to step beyond the ropes,” said Elyse Saugstad, professional skier and SAFE-AS organizer. “It is an introductory course where we hope to garner the attention of women who don’t think taking an Avalanche 1 course is suited for them and to inspire those who are interested to seek out more information afterwards.”