MINTURN, Colo. (CBS4) – Holy Cross Ranger Station right off of Interstate 70 just past Vail is now a suggested stop for anyone planning to stay safe during backcountry adventures. The site in the White River National Forest has a training park a bit of the ways up a snow-covered hill where crews have hidden eight different avalanche transceivers, attached to wooden planks with pressure sensors.
That’s designed to provide people looking to test out their own avalanche transceiver to find those buried under the snow and poke it with a pole to find it.
“You really don’t get the rapid repetitions unless you come out and practice in a place like this,” Cal Orlowski, Mountain Sports Ranger for U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday morning.
The site is easy to operate, and theoretically open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week although Orlowski did not mention many people trying the course in the dark. It does require you bring your own gear, whether that be skis with skins, snowshoes or simply walking up in boots.
The point is getting familiar with the process of using those tools outside of an emergency, so people will be prepared if they are suddenly trying to dig out someone from feet of snow during an avalanche.
“Those situations can be extremely stressful. There’s a lot going on managing different people in your party, as well as a potential accident scenario in a rescue,” Orlowski explained.
With more snow on the way for the high country and avalanche conditions fluctuating daily, Orlowski suggested it’s a great time for people to get used to using their tools before they end up having to use them in a real life scenario.