In 2012, five icons of backcountry skiing, Ingrid Backstrom, Jackie Paaso, Michelle Parker, Elyse Saugstad, Lel Tone and philanthropist and yogi Sherry McConkey, decided to start a new approach to teaching avalanche courses.
Founded on the premise of female-specific snow safety events that were frictionless and affordable, SAFE AS clinics came to fruition and has since educated over 1400 backcountry enthusiasts, raised more than $56,000 for local avalanche centers and other winter community non-profits, and has given more than $15,000 in scholarships for attending courses.
Lé Bent pro team rider Elyse Saugstad leading one of the avalanche safety classes last season.
Now in year ten, SAFE AS will be conducting one-day women’s-specific and co-ed clinics at Palisades Tahoe, California, the weekends of December 4th-5th, 11th-12th, and Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah the weekend of January 29th-30th.
In addition to the founding educators, guest instructors will include professional skier Cody Townsend and other noteworthy snow safety professionals.
Lé Bent pro team rider Cody Townsend has been known to make a cameo appearance and drop some knowledge.
Each one day event engages participants with classroom and on-mountain instruction following AIARE’s curriculum, capped with morning yoga, companion rescue training, and an aprés party / fundraiser with tons of raffle prizes — including heaps of Lé Bent ski and snowboard socks.
SAFE AS offers a range of partial and full scholarships to help ensure that all enthusiast are able to take part.