Annual avalanche workshop Nov. 16 here

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The Flathead Avalanche Center will offer the ninth annual Northern Rockies Snow and Avalanche Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center downtown.

The one-day workshop features a panel of experts who will speak to winter avalanche safety and decision-making skills for backcountry professionals and enthusiasts. In addition to a variety of speakers, the day will be filled with a raffle and vendors of avalanche safety gear, winter equipment, and snow machines.

“The need for avalanche education and awareness continues to grow in Northwest Montana, with more and more people recreating in the winter backcountry,” said Zach Guy, Flathead Avalanche Center Director.

“Last season alone, there were 25 avalanche fatalities in the U.S., and in our region, we received reports of nine accidents that resulted in injuries, near misses, and one fatality. If you are planning on heading out into the backcountry this winter, this is a great opportunity to tune your avalanche knowledge and keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe.”

People can register for the conference and buy tickets at flatheadavalanche.org. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door.

“Regional avalanche workshops like NRSAW are the best bang for your buck in avalanche education,” said Lloyd Morsett, event chair and snow safety coordinator for Whitefish Mountain Resort. “Come network, mingle with your backcountry peers, and get excited for this coming winter.”

This year’s panel includes speakers covering topics about the technical and human elements of avalanche safety and decision-making.

Panelists include:

• Kelly Elder — Rocky Mountain Research Station in Colorado: Elder will speak to the historic avalanche cycle last year in Colorado through the lens of scale and change.

• Aleph Johnston-Bloom — Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center in Alaska: Johnston-Bloom will share her work developing mentorship programs in the avalanche industry.

• Lloyd Morsett — Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana: Morsett will share avalanche fatality statistics in northwest Montana.

• Matt W. — United States Army: Matt W. will present information about thinking under extreme stress.

• Blase Reardon — Flathead Avalanche Center in Montana: Reardon will share case studies of avalanche near misses and accidents.

• Henry Finn — Simon Fraser University in British Columbia: Finn will present research on how recreationists understand and use avalanche awareness bulletins.

Flathead Avalanche Center is a program provided by Flathead National Forest, and is funded by Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, and donations to Friends of the Flathead Avalanche Center. The Type 1 Center staffs four full-time forecast and observer staff and provides daily avalanche forecasts for three geographic regions: the Swan Range, the Whitefish Range, and the Flathead Range and Glacier National Park.

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