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Seminar: backcountry safety

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When the ski areas close, many skiers and riders head to the backcountry. And it often dumps snow, making for great recreation, but potentially dangerous avalanche conditions.

This is why Grizzly Outfitters this Saturday is hosting an afternoon avalanche awareness seminar. An avalanche dog will be present, as will an expert from the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, to help instruct beacon practice and lead basic discussion about safe travel.

“We’re just trying to get people thinking about it and practicing with their beacons before they decide to go into the backcountry this spring,” said Amy Smit, who’s organizing the event for Grizzly.

This has been a particularly dangerous season in the backcountry. Recent avalanche activity has been related to a persistent weak layer in the snowpack left over from October. That’s not going to go away until the snow melts, said GNFAC avalanche forecaster Eric Knoff in a recent video from mtavalanche.com.

“Without fail we always get a late season dump. With all the issues in the backcountry this year, the idea is to get people out practice with their beacons, thinking about being safe,” Smit said.

This event is open to the public, and will include prizes for all participants.

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