Pro female skiers coming to Tahoe to conduct SAFE AS clinics |

Pro female skiers coming to Tahoe to conduct SAFE AS clinics

Staff report
Elyse Saugstad, left, and Michelle Parker introduce the SAFE-AS team during a clinic in Snowbird, Utah.
Courtesy Re Wikstrom / |

Clinic schedule

December 7-8: Squaw Valley

December 13: Crystal Mountain, Wash.

December 14: Stevens Pass, Wash.

December 20-21: Copper Mountain, Colo.

General admission for each clinic is $140 plus fees. Student rates start at $110. Visit to register.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Everyone’s favorite season is here, and with winter’s return comes the return of SAFE AS — billed as one of the most fun important ways to welcome the ski season.

SAFE AS (Skiers Advocating and Fostering Education and Avalanche Snow Safety) invites women ages 14 and up with intermediate or better skiing or snowboarding ability to an introductory avalanche course bundled up in a fun-filled day of yoga, classroom and on-hill instruction, along with food, camaraderie and an aprés-ski party with an overflowing prize raffle.

The SAFE AS curriculum benefits everyone from seasoned backcountry adventurers with previous avalanche education to the merely curious, as well as backcountry and sidecountry novices and everyone in between.

For the third year in a row, Lel Tone — certified AIARE instructor, Squaw Valley avalanche forecaster, Alaskan heli guide and Warren Miller movie star — will lead each one-day snow safety and avalanche course, assisted by professional skiers Jackie Paaso, Michelle Parker, Elyse Saugstad, and Ingrid Backstrom, and the expert yoga guidance of Sherry McConkey.

“We wanted to create a women’s-specific avalanche workshop where ladies could learn in an encouraging environment,” Parker said. “We wanted a place to inspire women to take the next step, to refresh their knowledge, or just simply start the learning process about avalanche awareness.”

The aim of SAFE AS is to provide critical information and education in a fun, open, encouraging environment, with an emphasis on discussion, participation, and hands-on learning.

“We put the ‘fun’ back into fundrasier, giving back to local snow safety charities and organizations doing good things in our communities,” Parker said.

Some of those nonprofits include HighFives Foundation’s B.A.S.I.C.S Safety Program, Sierra Avalanche Center, the Northwest Avalanche Center and AIARE’s Project Zero.

The SAFE AS crew educates more than 150 women per year. This year, there are three clines, each encompassing two days, at Squaw Valley, Copper Mountain and a Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass in Washington.

To learn more about SAFE AS, visit, or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram: @Safeasclinics.

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