Reset, Refresh

I just finished up a two-day avalanche refresher course here in Tahoe, taught by the honorable Lel Tone, Alaskan heli guide, Squaw Valley ski patroller, and avalanche educator and forecaster. My peers in the class were a collection of some of Tahoe’s most talented female skiers, including Ingrid Backstrom, Michelle Parker, Elyse Saugstad, Amie Engerbretson, Jackie Passo, and Sherry McConkey — a good reminder that even pro skiers are getting refresher courses in avy education. We did some classroom work (looking at case studies, analyzing terrain and route selection, discussing human factors and decision making, and more) and then did some rescue scenarios and practiced searching with our beacons out in the snow. Find an avalanche course near you at Here are some photos from the course.

The manuals.

Elyse Saugstad

Elyse Saugstad with her four backcountry essentials: beacon, shovel, probe, ABS backpack.

From left, Lel Tone watches as Ingrid Backstrom and Jackie Paaso rehearse a rescue scenario.

Amie Engerbretson, Michelle Parker, and Sherry McConkey practice pulling a BCA airbag pack.