One-Day Backcountry Safety Clinic Provides a Forum of Fun and Education

The fourth season of Snowboarders/Skiers Advocating and Fostering Education and Snow Safety, known SAFE.AS, recently held sold-out clinics at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The one-day sessions were filled with a bounty of backcountry knowledge and included classroom and on-mountain components. Robin Van Gyn helped host the clinic and gave us the scoop on the event below.

Words/Photos: Robin Van Gyn

I don't know about you, but I would like to be snowboarding when I am 60. The idea is to keep doing all the rad things we do into the twilight years with our friends and family. With the nature of snowsports, we deal with the mountains on the regular and it can be easy to miss something they are telling us in the midst of a deep pow turn. Those mountains will spank you (hard) when we fail to respect their power.

Avalanche Clinic at Copper

Stay out of the way when Robin has her shovel handy.

SAFE AS Clinics are women-focused avalanche clinics aimed at giving the the ladies the confidence to stand on their own two feet while traveling in the backcountry. With lead guide,  Lel Tone at the forefront, flanked by top female pros with a hell of a lot of experience, there's so much sharing and learning to be done in these one-day clinics.

Whether it's when Elyse Saugstad talking about how her ABS pack saved her life, Michelle Parker's homemade snow and slope experiment, or when the most awesome and hilarious Sherry McConkey leads us in an early morning yoga sesh, the SAFE AS format allows for less of a "by the book" classroom and on-hill practice in avalanche safety.


Lead Guide Lel Tone leads the group of ladies at Copper.

This past weekend, the SAFE AS clinic sold out to snowboarders and skiers of Summit County at Copper Mountain who just want to get out and rip as we do and that's really what it's all about. Getting the goods and coming back home so we can do it all over again. Even if you have some education, it's a perfect way to meet other lady shredders and practice your skills.

Get the gear, get the forecast, get the knowledge and realize that there is a bigger picture to what you see in the media. Like Jeremy Jones has said " there are days when the mountain says yes, and there are days when the mountain says no." Don't get spanked!


The sold-out crew for the SAFE. AS clinic at Copper

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