FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4)– A unique park in Summit County offers winter recreation enthusiasts the chance to practice their backcountry skills in a realistic setting. Refining those skills could end up saving a life.

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With avalanche danger listed as “considerable to high” in many mountain areas across Colorado and on the heels of a fatal avalanche incident in the San Juan range near Red Mountain Pass, local emergency responders are encouraging backcountry users to brush up on their skills.

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The Frisco Avalanche Beacon Park, located at the Frisco Adventure Park, is now open to the public.
Eight buried transmitters located in the park are controlled by a central panel. Once the beacon is activated, the search for buried “victims” can begin.

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“A lot of people have the proper avalanche response gear, a shovel, probe and beacon, but don’t know how to use them properly,” Summit County Rescue Group member Charles Pitman told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel.

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The park allows backcountry users to test new beacons and their skills before heading out into the backcountry. The practice could help before they find themselves in a serious situation where they need to know how to rescue a buried friend.

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“The first 15 minutes in an avalanche if someone is buried are critical, and you need to know how to help the people you are with,” Pitman added.

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The beacon park concept is one of the only in Colorado, but there are other parks across the Western U.S., according to the Summit County Rescue Group.

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To use the park, bring a beacon, some “D” batteries, a shovel and a probe. The park is open through the rest of the winter season.

(credit: CBS)

Matt Kroschel

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