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Avalanche Beacon Park Makes Practicing Backcountry Safety Easy

Ryan Stanley

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, saidas 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.


Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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