Sun shining, and skis shredding…all in the name of avalanche safety.
On Sunday, the Central Oregon Avalanche Center hosted its annual VertFest event, raising funds and awareness about being prepared for avalanche danger.
The turnout for races was the highest ever, with 200 racers across multiple backcountry routes.
The event also included educational clinics from Oregon Ski Guides and Central Oregon Community College to teach attendees skills for how to find someone buried in an avalanche and how to prepare for backcountry terrain.
“Bend has had a boom in population and recreation is a big deal here in the backcountry,” said Trevor Miller, the President and Founder of Central Oregon Avalanche Center. “Community in itself has increased probably 100-fold since I’ve lived here, when we started this back in 2009. So really it’s just all about being aware, understanding what terrain you’re going into in the backcountry.”
The nonprofit requires funds from the public to continue their daily avalanche forecasting service.
They managed to raise $7,000 during Sunday’s event.