7th annual WYSAW preps backcountry users for winter

JACKSON, Wyo. — Last winter in the United States, 37 people were killed in avalanches. That makes it one of the deadliest seasons ever for avalanches in this country, surpassing the previous high of 36 in 2009-10. In Western Wyoming, there were four people who died in avalanches.

People will debate the causes—bad snowpack, more people in the backcountry due to Covid-19, decision-making influenced by the pandemic fatigue, etc—but we can all agree that it is far too many people not coming home after a day in the mountains. Moving forward, it is up to everyone in the winter backcountry community to do better.

A positive step in that direction is attending the 7th Annual Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop on October 22-23 at the Center for the Arts. The two-day symposium features expert speakers and panel discussions on the leading edge of snow science, risk mitigation, and behavioral studies. Presented by Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation, in partnership with the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center, WYSAW can be attended in person at limited capacity, or virtually, as the event will be livestreamed at TetonCountySAR.org/wysaw.

The cost to attend in person is $40 and covers both days, with attendees receiving a goody bag with cool prizes, and a free lunch on Saturday from Pica’s. There is no cost to watch online, though you are still encouraged to register in order to make the most of the experience. Such as, both in-person attendees and virtual registrants will be able to attend the live Vendor Fair on Saturday, October 23, on the south lawn outside the Center (rain, snow, or shine). More than 20 leading winter outdoor brands and adventure/education services will be on hand to show off their latest offerings and answer questions about backcountry safety, avalanche education, and winter recreation in the Tetons. Plus, from 4-5:30 at the Vendor Fair, all registrants will receive a free beer from Roadhouse Brewing and free slice from Pinky G’s.

WYSAW also features a raffle in support of Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers, with tons of great prizes from leading brands and local businesses, including skis from Salomon, Blizzard, Rossignol and Dynastar; boots from Tecnica; avalanche beacons and other backcountry safety equipment from Mammut and Backcountry Access; outerwear and accessories from Arc’teryx and Flylow; free skiing from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King; and many more.

WYSAW will align with Covid-19 precautions for full-capacity events at the Center.

All WYSAW patrons will be required to: Wear a mask at all times inside the facility, except when actively eating or drinking, AND show proof of full vaccination from Covid-19, or for those unable to be vaccinated, show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.

To see the full schedule and register, go to TetonCountySAR.org/wysaw.

Thank you for doing your part to make sure we don’t have a repeat of last winter.

About The Author

Sponsored by Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation

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