Quick recovery is key to avalanche survival. Experts say that 93 percent of avalanche victims can be recovered alive if they are dug out within the first 15 minutes, but after that, the likelihood of survival declines drastically. That’s why wearing avalanche beacons and knowing how to use them is an absolute must for backcountry enthusiasts.
Now Jackson has a public space for those recreationists to practice their skills. Snow King Mountain has just opened an avalanche beacon training park at the base of the resort. It’s free and open to the public daily.
Ryan Stanley, Snow King General Manager, said as more and more people get into backcountry skiing and snowboarding, it’s important to have a safe place for people to practice the necessary skills.
“It’s really easy and accessible for people to hop right out of their car and go play around with their beacon,” said Stanley.
The park is designed to let users practice different scenarios.
“We’ve got eight boxes that you can switch on and off, and then use your beacon to go and find them and test your skills to get faster at searching for beacons,” said Stanley. “So when you go out into the backcountry, in the unfortunate event that you did have an avalanche situation occur, you’d be very skilled at searching for a buried beacon.”
The park is a partnership between Snow King and Teton County Search and Rescue, the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club Backcountry Program, and Teton Mountaineering. For more information about avalanche safety and current conditions visit the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center.