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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.