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BSF Provides Avalanche Awareness Education
December 6, 2019

Avalanche terrain is all around Bozeman, and while we don't necessarily train in the avy terrain, BSF recognizes that the majority of our athletes (in all disciplines) will enter the backcountry or sidecountry at some point in their recreational pursuits and those who travel abroad must understand the gravity of off-piste. We've  teamed up with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center for the second year to provide avalanche awareness training.

Changing the Stats

The BRASS Foundation and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation conducted a survey of ski club athletes and coaches around the country in 2019. Some key takeaways:

  • 57% of athletes had no avalanche training (41% in the the Rocky region)
  • 31% of athletes said they ski/ride in the "side country" (aka lift-accessed, but out of bounds, with no avalanche control)
  • 84% of athletes going into the side country go with their peers
  • 37% of those who owned a beacon never practiced with it
  • 49% of the coaches and athletes surveyed had no avalanche training, while 34% had avalanche awareness training, 13% had Avy Level 1, and 5% had level 2 or a professional level course.

Which is to say that, nationwide, ski club athletes are exposing themselves to sidecountry and backcountry terrain, many of them without the proper training or equipment, and often only in the company of their peers. Education is key, and given the easy access to great skiing and avalanche terrain in Bozeman, we want to make sure that, at a minimum, skiers have a working knowledge of avalanche awareness. (Even if you want to avoid it, or want your kids to avoid it, you/they have to have the education to make those decisions.)

December 20 & 21- Special BSF Avalanche Awareness Training

BSF is providing this for free.

The classroom portion of this (December 20) is open to both athletes and parents and we encourage all athletes 12+ to attend. (Please be sure to signup first, though. Parents, too! We need a headcount.) There are no enrollment limitations for this day. Come, learn. We'll bring the pizza.

The fieldwork day at Bridger Bowl (December 21) has limited enrollment and is already full, but we do have a waiting list. You must attend the classroom portion on December 20 in order to participate in the fieldwork on the 21st. A one-trip lift ticket will be provided for those without a Bridger pass.

Recommended for: ages 12+. Note that this is sensitive content; we'll be discussing life-and-death situations in the mountains. Pre-course homework includes watching a 13-min. video called "Off Piste: Tragedy in the Alps."

December 20 Avalanche Awareness

4:15 - 6 p.m. at the Bozeman Public Library

Pizza provided. Open to all BSF athletes & parents.

December 21 Avalanche Awareness Fieldwork

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Bridger Bowl

*Open to U14 and older. You must attend the December 20 session to participate in the fieldwork. Enrollment capped, with a waitlist.

TO SIGNUP FOR ONE OR BOTH OF THESE: Add your name to the list at


GNFAC offers multiple educational opportunities throughout the winter. View their calendar HERE.