Free avalanche awareness class in Port Angeles

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PORT ANGELES — An avalanche awareness class will be offered at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The free class will be in the Raymond Carver Room of the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., Port Angeles.

The presentation will be led by Tyler Reed of Pacific Alpine Guides, said Jack Ganster, who has been teaching backcountry skiing skills for more than 20 years.

Reed is certified by American Mountain Guides Association.

“Winter has only just begun, and the snow stake at Hurricane Ridge is already registering over 100 feet,” Ganster said, adding that for many “there is no more welcome sight than looking down at a slope covered by untouched snow” in backcountry areas.

“But,” Ganster warned, “this scene belies the danger of avalanches for skiers, snowboarders, and even snowshoe enthusiasts.”

He quoted Russ Morrison, an avid Hurricane Ridge skier, who said that “just because we haven’t had a fatal avalanche here doesn’t mean that it is safe.

“I’ve been involved in a rescue, and it is an experience I don’t want to repeat,” Morrison said. “I’d like to see more people gaining the important skills that out-of-bounds skiing requires.”

These skills include learning more about avalanche hazards, first aid and rescue techniques.

“Other requirements include carrying a transceiver, shovel and probe to be responsible for your own safety,” Ganster said. “The fact is, there is no time to send for help. A rescue needs to happen in minutes.”

An avalanche awareness class can provide winter snow enthusiasts with the basics, Ganster said.

Last modified: December 25. 2012 5:02PM
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