Monday, 3 February 2014

Newfoundland Avalanche Awareness Days were held on Sunday February 2, 2014

by Keith and Heather Nicol

     On Sunday, February 2 we ran the Newfoundland Avalanche Awareness Days at 2 venues- Marble Mountain Day Lodge and at the Blow me down Nordic ski trails. We set up at Marble in the morning and had many people drop by and pick up brochures. We had a draw for an avalanche book at each location and many skiers and boarders put their name in the hat for the draw prize. On display were the 3 main piece of avalanche gear- the probe, shovel and beacon. Thanks to Backcountry Access ( for supplying gear for our awareness programmes in Newfoundland. Also on display were brochures supplied by the Canadian Avalanche Centre, photos of Newfoundland avalanches and companion rescue cards. Thanks to the Canadian Avalanche Centre ( for supplying some of these materials. We also added some names of people interested in the next Avalanche Skills Training (AST) course. 
Jamie Ryan, Marble's Ski School Director drops by to pick up some avalanche information

Daley is getting close!
     In the afternoon we headed to the Blow me down Nordic ski club which has close to 700 members. We had lots of interest from some of the kids in attendance in trying to find the avalanche beacon which we buried in the snow near the day lodge.  It was amazing how quickly they were able to find the buried beacon with very little explanation in how they worked. All I told them to “follow the directional arrow on the Backcountry Access Tracker and make sure the numbers get smaller.  Once you are down to 2 meters or less then put the beacon on along the snow and find the lowest reading. That is likely where the avalanche beacon is buried”. In no time at all Daley Merrigan and Tarik Rodrigues found the buried beacon. The only problem arose when Daley and Tarik decided to make it difficult for Kaden and they threw the beacon up into a tree when I wasn’t looking. When Kaden Rodrigues tried to find it the lowest reading, he could get 4 meters but no lower. Laughing Daley Merrigan and Tarik Rodrigues pointed to the tree and we had an interesting time trying to get it out of the thick branches. 
Kaden (middle) follows the beacon arrow while Tarik (left) and Daley look on

    The winners of the avalanche books were Neil Fortune at Marble and Dave Murphy at Blow me down. Thanks to all of those who dropped for avalanche awareness days and if you are interested in taking an AST course send me an email ( Also if you have group interested in a FREE 1 hour presentation on avalanches send me an email. These FREE sessions are sponsored by the Canadian Avalanche Centre. Also thanks to Marble Mountain and the Blow me down Nordic ski club for providing room for the displays.