Backcountry 101. The main idea is to give people a starting point.
“Increase awareness and give them a platform to jump off of,” said Jon Ingerson, one of the class’s instructors.
About 20 people gathered in the basement of the Bent Gate …
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About 20 people gathered in the basement of the Bent Gate Mountaineering store to learn about the basics on surviving a tour in Colorado’s backcountry. They learned about proper clothing first.
“Having a well-thought-out insulation system is key,” said Bent Gate’s owner and organizer of the classes, Greg Floyd.
Floyd talked about wool and synthetic materials, hats and gloves.
He paused, then asked if anyone had questions. Seeing no one raise their hand, he said, “And on to gear — the fun stuff.”
Floyd gave a quick rundown on boots, bindings and skis — different kinds for different needs. Then on to avalanche awareness gear, including everyone’s favorite toy — the beacon.
“If you have one, really get to know it,” Ingerson said.
Michelle Desrosiers attended the class with her friend Jen Davis. The two already knew quite a bit about the gear, they said, but they did pick up a few tips on boots and beacons.
Davis has owned her beacon for about a year, but before that, she would rent.
“It would be nice to have that practice,” she said. So if she attends another class, she would like to get more hands-on training with it.
Floyd continued and talked about probes and shovels.
A good shovel, he said, is important. “If it gets down to needing it, you’re going to want one that holds up.”
The classes will be a little different each time, hosting different instructors and offering more hands-on training opportunities. Some people might go to every class, Ingerson said, and others might just go to one to familiarize themselves with the backcountry before seeking out more professional training.
Either way, the classes were designed for people — like Donald Letts — who are seeking out the basics to have a fun and safe backcountry ski or snowboard experience.
“It’s so different than alpine skiing,” Letts said. “It can be overwhelming if you’ve never been to the backcountry.”
Bent Gate Mountaineering, 1313 Washington Ave. in Golden, will be offering a series of Backcountry 101 Sessions + Avy Beacon Practice classes this season. To find a schedule, or for information on other events the store is sponsoring, such as ski/snowboard demos and movie socials, visit www.bentgate.com or call 303-271-9382.
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