Dolores Public Library hosts avalanche expert

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 1:08 PM
A skier traverses Serpent Couloir near Ophir in 2014 moments before an avalanche. The snowpack is cracking above and around him.
This wet, loose avalanche slid above Trout Lake in 2015. It was human-caused.

The Dolores Public Library will host an avalanche awareness presentation on Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Professional avalanche instructor and backcountry mountain guide Michael Ackerman will lead discussion and Q&A session about Colorado’s Know Before You Go Avalanche Awareness Program. Ackerman will talk about the basics of snow science, avalanche safety and give details on free, upcoming Know Before You Go classes sponsored by Friends of the San Juans for Montezuma and Dolores county residents.

Avalanches kill an average of 42 people each year in North America. Hundreds more are injured. Avalanches don’t just happen to extreme athletes — they can happen to those skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, driving, hunting and bike riding. Basically, anyone who can get onto or underneath steep snow-covered slopes is at risk. Many avalanche victims don’t know they are in avalanche danger and are unprepared to deal with an avalanche. This doesn’t have to happen — the danger signs are usually obvious to those who know what to look for.

Know Before You Go is a free avalanche awareness program, sponsored by The Friends of the San Juans, a Durango-based nonprofit. In these 90-minute classes, you will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and learn how you can have fun in the mountains and avoid avalanches.