Workshop aims to freshen up snow enthusiast’s safety knowledge


Dozens braved snowy conditions Saturday morning to sit inside and learn about snow safety.

The Central Oregon Avalanche Center (COAC) held their annual Bend Snow and Avalanche Workshop at COCC in Bend.

COAC is a non-profit group working to educate those skiing and riding in the backcountry.

Topics at the seminar ranged from tree wells to backcountry inclusivity.

“We all know about Leave No Trace,” said speaker Wyn Wiley, “but there’s no real thing that teaches us how to take action for other people and provide safety for other people in the outdoors when it comes to people across difference.”

Wiley, maybe better know as Pattie Gonia, works to up lift LGBTQIA+ people in the outdoors.

Other presenters talked about avalanche conditions and staying safe while recreating outside this winter.

“We have this growing population of people who want to go out and backcountry ski or snow machine so it’s really helpful to them to know where to go safely or when it’s a good time to avoid the backcountry,” said OAC forecaster Gabriel Coler.

Forecasting should expand this season, they are working with the Deschutes National Forest to install monitoring equipment on Paulina Peak.

Avalanche deaths have occurred on the peak in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument south of Bend.

“Because that has been a dangerous spot for folks, we hope that in the future we can write an avalanche forecast for there, if we don’t know what’s happening there we can’t write a forecast,” said COAC forecaster Gabriel Coler.

An upper weather station that records temperature and wind should be up and running later this season according to Coler.

The group has similar monitoring equipment on Moon Mountain west of Bend.

COAC starts avalanche forecasting for the season on December 1st.


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