The weather is changing and with snow blanketing the high peaks, it is time for a fall newsletter.
The 2019-2020 winter ended with the Covid-19 virus shutting down operations at the ski resorts and closing a few of the major parking lots accessing the national forest. Sales of motorized and non-motorized gear for traveling in avalanche terrain have exploded. We recognize the need for more safe winter travel education and will address this in several ways.
We plan to install avalanche beacon check stations at Brundage and Tamarack ski resorts at access into avalanche terrain. We also plan to install a beacon check station at the motorized Francis Wallace Lot north of McCall. Also, plans are in place to update or move the current one at the motorized Gordon Titus lot. These beacon check stations let users know if their avalanche beacons are turned on, a first step towards safe travel in avalanche terrain.
We also are partnering with Brundage to offer more avalanche awareness classes and with the increasingly popular all women’s class at Tamarack. Watch for details and dates.
We hope to award 2-3 “future forecasters” scholarships this year. Last year we had 2 fantastic recipients as well as positive feedback from the community. The Halloween announcement for applications should close by December 1st. High School seniors in Adams county as well as Valley county are encouraged to apply. These scholarships are for local students showing an interest in snow sciences.
Last year’s new beacon training park was installed at the Harshman skatepark in the city of McCall. Talks are underway to relocate it at the Little Ski Hill, in hopes it will receive more use from youth within the community as well as the motorized community.
Fundraising during the pandemic will be different this year. We are looking at an online auction to replace our popular but problematic party. This will provide an opportunity for local businesses to donate and advertise to our community. We are exploring several auction websites and will have details announced shortly.
2020 was a record fundraising year! Our plan is for some of those funds tocontribute to more Payette Avalanche Center advisories this season, especially during high use times like winter carnival or during storm cycles.
Let’s get more observations submitted! A big thank you to all who submitted observations in the past few years. We hope to implement a reward system for quality observations that help the forecasters paint a better picture of the snowpack.
Your donations make all of this happen. We simply want to thank you for your continued support. Please contact us with any questions or ideas of how we can provide avalanche education to keep our community safe during this La Niña 2020-2021 season.