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2021/22 Avy Refresher

Sat, 2021-12-18
Michael Altherr
Leader Email: 
Are dogs allowed?: 
Not allowed

I don't know about you, but my skis are tuned and waxed and waiting to be set on snow. If you're like me the only reason I ski the front country is to ski better in the backcountry. With that comes the prospect of finding oneself in avalanche terrain. So, help me hone my (and your) rescue skills by joining me for this annual refresher.

Los Alamos participants will plan on leaving from the LANB Parking Lot at 07:30, meeting White Rock participants and departing the Y parking area at 07:45. Santa Fe participants can meet the group at the Northern New Mexico Campus parking area in Espanola at 08:00. Both skiers and snowshoers are welcome. We will divide into appropriate groups

Location: We will conduct this exercise near Tierra Amarillo off Hwy 64 near the trailhead to the Brazos Overlook (36°44'23.5"N 106°21'16.0"W). The trailhead is a short distance from a small group of hills with elevation gains of 200-400' and slope angles of 25-40 deg. They are an enjoyable bc skiing opportunity. 

Planned Activities:

  1. Companion Rescue Exercise: You know those cute little electronic devices that club lends out in the winter time? Ever wonder how they work? Come find out, or sharpen your skills. Your companions will appreciate it. This year I hope we have enough participants to divide into two groups. 
  2. As time permits, we will dig a pit and do a snow profile in an attmept to understand what the early season structure is telling us about the snow pack. I will share what little I know with anyone who is interested.
  3. Third, I want to ski the mounds.  Here are coords (36°44'23.5"N 106°21'16.0"W) for the summit of the eastern mound if you would like to look at the area.

Equipment: I will be checking out some of the club's equipment, so please let me know if you need anything from a standard avalanche kit - transceiver, probe and shovel, and I will get it for you.

If you are interested in participating, let me know by emailing me (, and let me if you have your own gear (transceiver, probe and shovel), and whether you plan to be on skis or snowshoes. Review your copy of 'Snow Sense', 'ABCs of Avalanche Safety', or other. There is also an online course available if you would like to refamiliarize yourself before heading into the field. Bring your near miss stories and a willingness to participate in setting and acting out transceiver searches. The number of participants will be limited to 10 (divided into 2 groups of 5 if a co-leader can be identified). The two groups will be divided to expedite transceiver exercises.

Trip Location: 

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