A new avalanche beacon training park outside Minturn gives the public an accessible opportunity to practice using avalanche transceivers. Beacons are a critical piece of safety equipment for winter backcountry recreation.
“Record numbers of people are venturing into the backcountry, and the need for winter backcountry safety education is higher than ever,” said Ranger Leanne Veldhuis. “Avalanche transceivers are key to finding avalanche victims as soon as possible. But they are only effective if people know how to use them.”
The avalanche beacon training park is situated a short climb up the slope at the Mountain Meadow Trailhead on U.S. 24. Which is about quarter mile from the I-70 Minturn exit.
The park consists of eight buried transmitters that can be turned on and off from a small control panel. This allows for multiple search scenarios to familiarize people with using their avalanche transceivers and probing the snow for victims. It’s a self-operating system open all day to the public.
“Beacon parks have traditionally been located at ski areas, where access may be limited to pass holders,” Veldhuis said. “This accessible location should help encourage more people to become proficient using avalanche transceivers, which can help save lives.”
While avalanche transceivers are important if someone becomes buried in an avalanche, avoiding avalanches in the first place is the best strategy.