Tahoe backcountry avalanche education series starts next week | SierraSun.com

Tahoe backcountry avalanche education series starts next week

Staff report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee-based Tahoe Mountain Sports is hosting an Avalanche Education Series to help ensure the safety of Truckee-Tahe skiers and riders.

The 2015-16 series presented by Ortovox is a free, three-part opportunity to learn best practices for backcountry snow sports.

"While the series is not intended to be an end-all education on avalanche safety, it is an exceptional opportunity to learn directly from Truckee-Tahoe's resident mountain guides, avalanche safety instructors, meteorologists and local non-profits, such as the Sierra Avalanche Center," according to a news release from Tahoe Mountain Sports.

All events are held at the business's location t 11200 Donner Pass Road in Truckee. Doors open at 6 p.m. Programs start at 6:30 p.m. The schedule is below:

Part I – Reading Avalanche Reports, Understand Mountain Forecasts & Making Good Decisions

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Zach Tolby, a NOAA meteorologist, will discuss mountain-specific forecasts and what a strong El Niño means for the Sierra. Don Triplat from the Sierra Avalanche Center and Steve Reynaud from the Tahoe Mountain School will discuss problem solving in winter scenarios and safe backcountry movement. Interactive weather and decision-making scenarios will follow in a small group setting.

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Part 2 – Beacons and Beers

Wednesday, Dec. 9: Learn the basics of avalanche rescue including proper transceiver and shovel use and group-rescue strategies. Jared Rodriguez of Ortovox and Steve Reynaud of Tahoe Mountain School will discuss the history and tech behind avalanche transceivers. Attendees will break into small groups for outdoor beacon practice including burial scenarios. TMS will offer discounts on products in the store this night only. TMS can update Ortovox, Mammut, Barryvox and Pieps transceivers for $5 this night only.

Part 3 – Avalanche Airbag Sessions – Rep War & Party

Wednesday, Jan. 27: Learn the physics behind avalanche airbag packs and understand the differences between passive and active backcountry safety gear. The night's highlight will be the "Rep War," where representatives from major airbag companies debate each other on who makes superior airbag systems. TMS will offer free exchanges of all air or gas cylinders this night only in an effort to practice and to test your system. A season-ending raffle supporting Sierra Avalanche Center will follow with the grand prize of a Mammut airbag pack ($900 value) highlighting the evening.

Visit tahoemountainsports.com to learn more.