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2022/2023 PI Avy Fund Backcountry Chats

The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is back for its sixth season of Telluride Backcountry Chats. Join us to increase your knowledge and awareness of and in the backcountry. This season’s chats will be held at Wilkinson Public Library and we will do our best to record and post them. We hope you can join us!

Thank you to our sponsors: Telluride Mountain Guides, San Juan Outdoor Adventures, Mountain Trip and Telluride Helitrax.

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 at 6pm – Telluride Backcountry Chat

Danger Trends: Examining why more people are getting caught per incident, why more slides are happening on the uphill, and examining patterns from this winter’s backcountry incidents

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023 at 5:30pm – Telluride Skidola

The Skidola is an open registration uphill on-snow race open from the town of Telluride to the ridge that parallels the gondola. Telluride Foundation is the host and organizer and all proceeds will be donated to the PI Avy Fund to further its mission to create opportunities for avalanche education and backcountry user awareness in the San Juan Mountains. Learn more and register here! Join us for the Awards Ceremony and After-Party happening at Oak, with DJ Wombat spinning tunes. The PI Day Torchlight Parade will come down the mountain after sunset to honor all of those that we’ve lost. You can Sponsor a Torch for $20 and decorate it to celebrate or honor someone important to you.

Saturday, March 18th, 2023 – Tellurando

Racer meeting Friday, March 17th at 7pm at Jagged Edge.
Pro starts 5:30am on Saturday at Jagged Edge.
Rec starts at 7:30am at Comp Hill in Mountain Village.


Past Events

A great backcountry awareness program to kick off your season is Know Before You Go (KBYG) from Friends of the CAIC. Not much science, no warnings to stay out of the mountains, no formulas to memorize. In about an hour, you will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and how you can have fun in the mountains and avoid avalanches. Watch for the first time or refresh your memory via this link: https://support.friendsofcaic.org/pages/know-before-you-go-online.

Monday, March 15
6:20 PM 
Virtually on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87190566715

Group Communication Tactics for Effective Decision-Making with Jayson Simons-Jones

Effective Decision Making is imperative in the high consequence world of professional avalanche work and winter recreational backcountry users. Communication tactics are at the cornerstone of how the decision-making process is carried out leading to either effective decisions with good outcomes, or ineffective decisions with unintended outcomes. Much in the world of avalanche education course curriculum has been focused on giving tools or checklists to implement communication as a skill to be employed in backcountry decision making tactics. I am hoping to explore a bit of the deeper psychology behind the communication process in how it plays out in groups, and specifically to initiate a conversation on how both specific communication behaviors and tactics can elicit effective team decision making, and what to be aware of in the process to determine if your group or professional team is working towards good or bad decision making communication strategies.
Jayson is an IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Colorado, where he has been a backcountry ski guide, avalanche forecaster, avalanche course educator, ski patroller, snowcat ski guide, and avalanche consultant throughout the scope of his career over the past 20+ years. These days he is balancing the new frontiers of working as a mountain guide amidst a global pandemic and a sketchy Colorado snowpack year with graduate studies in group communication and development strategies, hoping to add value to the conversation around increased decision making tactics and theories in a high risk, high consequence environment.



Monday, March 1
6:15 PM 
Virtually on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86216302329

Building Expertise with Sarah Carpenter & The American Avalanche Institute

This presentation is an exploration of building expertise – how can we improve our skills and knowledge in an environment where we don’t often get good feedback? Backcountry skiing is complex and demands knowledge and experience with so many skills. The goal of this presentation is to offer some tools and techniques to foster life long learning.

Sarah Carpenter is a co-owner of the American Avalanche Institute. She teaches avalanche courses to both recreationists and professionals and loves sharing her excitement about the winter environment with others. Sarah also works as a ski guide in the Tetons. She lives in Victor, ID with her husband, Don, in a house they built together (with a lot of help).


Monday, February 1
6:15 PM 
Virtually on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87008247965

Powder Fever and Longevity in the Backcountry with Bill, Fischer & Coop

The values of a process-oriented approach to skiing in avalanche terrain

We all know the feeling, standing on the top of untouched powder and already dreaming of the turns to come. That’s why we do it, we love to ski. It’s a way of life and it has lead all of us to this town in the middle of the San Juans. But how do we grapple with our inner desire to get the fresh tracks? How do we temper our decision making and focus on our process so that we can sustain skiing as a way of life for many years to come? In this chat, we highlight the values of a process-oriented approach to skiing in avalanche terrain.

Fischer Hazen was born and raised here in the San Juans. Skiing was his first passion in these mountains and is what keeps him here dreaming of winter. He spends his year working for Mountain Trip guiding big snowy mountains around the world, teaching avalanche education courses and backcountry skiing guiding!

Jonathan Cooper (“Coop”) has been searching out adventure and powder skiing all around the mountain west for just over a decade. He landed here in SW Colorado and has been on a journey to understand his own human foibles through the complex nature of the San Juan snowpack.


Monday, January 4 
6:15 PM
View the recorded video here: https://youtu.be/KyqbjXTLuiY

Risk Assessment & Treatment with Ryan Howe

Assessing and dealing with risk in avalanche terrain can be a confusing and mentally exhausting process. It is tempting and potentially catastrophic to lean on our intuition and the decisions of others, rather than doing the hard work of disciplined evidence gathering and patience. Fortunately, we have access to super useful conceptual framework tools and cognitive triggers. In this PI Fund backcountry chat, we’ll discuss a very practical-down and durty to quick and purty- “Dirtbag Risk Assessment and Treatment”.
Ryan Howe has worked as a full time, blue collar avalanche professional since 1998. His career path has followed a wobbly orbit as a guide, educator, ski patroller, operations manager and author.


Monday, December 7, 2020
6:15 PM 
View the recorded video here: https://youtu.be/ecwovlArRc4

Welcome Back Winter + Getting Your Head in the Game

If you are headed into the backcountry this winter, join us for a little refresher on all the things you’ll want to think about this season. Joining us will be Matt Steen (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Helitrax), Jon Tuckman (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Ski Resort), and Mike Barney from the CAIC. We’ll be covering:

  • Snowpack: current hazard, trends, and observations
  • CAIC website, observations, and weather
  • Ski area boundaries and what you need to know
  • Backcountry gate etiquette
  • Telluride Backcountry Radio Program


One Comment

  • Tim Bounds says:

    Been a member for 1+ year now and never bothered to ask: are the backcountry chats recorded and posted to the website (or some other website?) And also let me know if I need to re-up my dues with the change in membership year.


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Telluride Mountain Club advocates for safe, accessible, enjoyable and respectful opportunities for human-powered recreational activities in the Telluride region, through education, awareness and collaboration.

Telluride Mountain Club is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.