Ski Haus Avalanche Clinic starts tonight

— Murray Selleck can’t remember the first time he helped put on the annual Ski Haus Avalanche Clinic, which returns to Steamboat Springs tonight.

He just knows he’s almost always helped with the clinic. Selleck’s been trying to get the clinic’s messages out — messages that are timeless in a winter sports-crazy town like Steamboat.

The clinic is “just full of critical skills for any backcountry skier, and we’ve been skiing in the backcountry around here for a long time,” said Selleck, an employee at Ski Haus.

The action starts at 7 p.m. today at Ski Haus with a two-hour free avalanche clinic that is open to the public. Donations to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will be accepted.

The class will focus on the basics of what to do in the backcountry and how to avoid and survive dangerous situations. Then a field session is available Saturday and Sunday to help reinforce tonight’s lessons.

The Saturday and Sunday field classes are identical to each other and will be limited to 20 participants. Only a few spots remained Thursday. A field session costs $30.

“The course we’re offering is just an awareness course,” Selleck said. “It presents good ideas for snowmobiling and snowshoeing or people skiing up to the 10th Mountain (Division) huts. It has thoughts on which way to ski, where to ski, when to ski all of those things, and it tries to make it so you can go back again. That’s the goal, isn’t it?”

Although many backcountry trekkers have taken advantage of the course throughout the years, its popularity doesn’t seem to be in decline.

“It’s just valuable even to longtime locals and people who have great skills,” Selleck said. “It’s always good information to hear again.”

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