Freeride Avalanche Summit At Snowbird

Snowbird, Utah - Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) are once again partnering to offer the second annual Freeride Avalanche Summit, Dec. 16-17. The two-day clinic is targeted towards advanced and expert skiers and riders who want practical and professional instruction on avalanche awareness, safety and rescue.

The Freeride Avalanche Summit will include a unique blend of instruction that combines the expertise of industry leading avalanche forecasters with the experience and influence of local, professional athletes. Expected participants include:

  • Members of the UAC
  • Snowbird Ski Patrol
  • Will Wissman, professional photographer
  • Gordy Peifer, professional skier
  • Jenn Berg, professional skier
  • Ben Wheeler, professional skier
  • Chris Coulter, professional snowboarder
  • Forrest Shearer, professional snowboarder
  • Caroline Gleich, professional skier
  • Brant Moles, professional skier
  • Hannah Whitney, professional skier
  • Wasatch Powderbird Guides
  • And more to be announced

"Last year's Avalanche Summit proved that there's a tremendous demand for affordable, high-end backcountry training for advanced local skiers and riders," said UAC Forecaster and Freeride Avalanche Summit founder Craig Gordon. "We're excited to once again bring together leading forecasters with some of the best winter athletes in Utah for what is sure to be a premier event."

Watch a video and view a gallery of last year's event.

The Freeride Avalanche Summit offers more than 20 hours of classroom and on-mountain instruction during the two day session. Topics include snowpack analysis, terrain assessment, first aid techniques, emergency notification procedures and more along with ski patrol briefings and real life line selection sessions with professional athletes. A tentative schedule can be found at The Summit costs $150 and is limited to 40 participants. Advanced and expert skiers and riders can register by visiting the Snowbird Activity Center or calling (801) 933-2147 Thursdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (interested parties can leave a message with contact information during non-business hours).

Since 1980, the Utah Avalanche has been providing the public with avalanche and mountain weather forecasts and training to backcountry users of all kinds in an effort to help them understand avalanche conditions, avoid avalanches and perform avalanche rescues.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort has received 140 inches of snowfall entering December. For more information or to see photos of the current conditions, visit or contact Jared Ishkanian at (801) 933-2047 / You can also follow Snowbird atfacebook and twitter.

SCHEDULE (tentative, agenda and presenters may change)
Wednesday December 15, 2010
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Registration, paperwork and program introduction at Black Diamond, 2084 East 3900 South
6:00 p.m. - 6:20 p.m. Rescue gear: beacons, shovels, probes, Avalung, airbags, SPOT
6:20 p.m. - 6:40 p.m. Avalanche Rescue: step by step companion rescue "routine"

Thursday December 16, 2010
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Early tram and freeride session (meet on Plaza Deck)
9:05 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Morning patrol briefing at Snowbird Center - Alpine B meeting room/2nd Floor
9:20 a.m. - 9:40 a.m. Notification - how and when to notify WBR/Sheriff/SAR- Dean Cardinale
9:40 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Safe backcountry travel techniques - one at a time, islands of safety, etc. - Dave Richards
10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. Setting up for production shots... how to avoid being in the impact zone - Will Wissman
10:50 a.m. - 11:05 a.m. Strategic shoveling explained
11:50 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. First aid overview for the backcountry - recommended training - Snowbird Patrol
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. Lunch provided by General Grits
12:00 pm - 12:30 a.m. 'Til help arrives- heli protocols - Wasatch Powderbird Guide facility - WPG staff
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Establishing an LZ for rescue, assessing and packaging a patient - AirMed
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Rescue stations- single/multiple beacon recovery, advanced probing techniques, taking charge, strategic shoveling, belay systems/anchors/knots - On snow - Staff
5:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Real Life Line Selection Stories - Ben Wheeler

Friday December 17, 2010
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Early tram and freeride session
9:05 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Morning patrol briefing at Snowbird Center - Alpine B meeting room/2nd Floor
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Using your local avy advisory - Craig Gordon
9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Snowpack structure, assessment and testing techniques - Bruce Tremper
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. When is it good to go...what increases or decreases our perception of risk - Ian McCammon
11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Lunch provided by General Grits
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Snowpits and stability assessment - On snow - Staff
4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Written Test - time limit on test
4:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. Real Life Line Selection Stories - Gordy Peifer
5:20 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Graduation