Berthoud Beacon Bash – A Grass-Roots Effort

Stop! Who’s missing? Can someone call 911? Are there any other hazards? Turn your transceiver to SEARCH! Do you know what to do next with the beacon search?

Will Coleman and Wade Lancaster created the Berthoud Beacon Bash as a way to promote early-season practice with beacon searches and support the Friends of CAIC.

Originally planned for the summit parking lot of Berthoud Pass, Coleman and Lancaster realized their event had grown bigger than they imagined and they needed to respect forest service rules about organized events on the pass. What to do? Thanks to Winter Park Resorts, the event relocated to the Utah Junction lot at the base of Mary Jane.

Beacon Search Stations

Multiple stations established around the perimeter allowed for participants to go through the basics of using an avalanche transceiver. At the final station, BCA had loaned the Friends of Berthoud Pass a beacon park rig with multiple transmitters and a central unit that controlled up to eight signals.

While waiting for their turn to go through the stations, people could warm up with Bivouac Coffee or grab a brat or hot dog provided by Dog Haus. BCA showed off their new gear while Weston Snowboards challenged people to see how quickly they could transition from ride to split to ride mode on the splitboard. The quickest time ended up being an impressive 1 minute and 21 seconds.

Mountain Fitness Training

In addition to avalanche safety, the event also addressed fitness with Sean Sewell of Colorado Personal Fitness providing a primer of activities and exercises to incorporate into people’s training for activities at altitude.

The timing of the next snow squall couldn’t be any better as the event winded down and everyone gathered with their pink raffle tickets in hand and ready to see who the lucky winners are.



About The Author

Aaron’s affinity for gear originally came from living the coastal lifestyle in southeastern North Carolina where he’d spend time surfing, free diving, and whatever else he could keep himself busy with on the water. After relocating to Colorado, Aaron traded his surfboard for a snowboard and spent three seasons as a ski technician for two of the largest retailers in Colorado.  Known as the “gear destroyer,” Aaron has a knack for finding flaws in gear, yet he also can come up with solutions to fix them. When not splitboarding, Aaron is trying to cross off as many peaks as possible on the list of 832 summits above 13,000 feet in Colorado. With an undergraduate degree in Marine Sciences and Meteorology and a masters in deaf education, Aaron is a man of many hats as a project developer, media producer, and educational consultant through his company Cue Cognatio. Aaron also goes on assignment as a photographer through Aaron V. Rose Photography. Aaron has completed the AIARE Rec Level 2.

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