Thanksgiving and Avalanche Safety!

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Well, my Thanksgiving pictures are a little late. But better late than never, right? Thanksgiving was super fun this year. We had it at our house and we cooked the Turkey and a bunch of food. We had over another house of our friends so there was about 10 of us, quite smaller than my Thanksgiving last year. I think the biggest difference from last year was that last year it was about 20 guys, me, and one other girl. This year it was 8 girls and 2 guys!

(Sorry they're not the most high quality pictures, they're all taken from my iPhone.)

On Monday I had my first 4-hour avalanche safety class to get Avalanche Safety Level I Certified. That class we talked more about weather than avalanches, because of course without weather, you can't have avalanches. We learned a lot about forecasting: Wind direction, what causes snow, different types of snow, etc. We learned about fatality rates with and without safety gear and other statistics. Frighteningly, we also learned that Summit and Aspen are the most dangerous locations in North America for avalanches, for a number of reasons. It was extremely interesting, and I'm very excited for my next class tonight!

Then on Friday we have our first field day in the back country, thank God the weather is going to be nice! We are going to hike up Webster Pass in Montezuma, a little town hiding behind Keystone. Webster Pass is an old mining road that I've actually off-roaded on in the summer, that has access to some awesome back country in the winter... which is also very avalanche prone. We were told to bring all our hiking gear, a shovel, a lunch, and even toilet paper!

Next Friday is our second field day off of Hoosier Pass, which is the road that leads south of Breckenridge, from Blue River to Alma. I'm assuming this is going to be the sketchier of the two days, seeing as we were told we were not allowed to go if we showed up without a beacon. Then after the day is over we go back to Breckenridge for our written test.

I'm really glad I took this course, and I highly recommend it to everyone who skis or snowboards. I have a phone interview with Vail Resorts tomorrow for a weekend job in ticket sales. I'm really hoping I get it just so I can afford a beacon this season... I'm now learning just how important they are! There have been two fatalities in North America for avalanches already this season. The first I have already mentioned in a previous entry. The second was a snowmobiler in Utah. Him and his friend had safety gear with them but decided to leave it in their car because "they weren't going to be doing anything dangerous." One of them ended up being buried in an avalanche only two feet deep and suffocated. Had he had his beacon, he would have walked away fine.

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