How you can help Australia get an avalanche beacon training park

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If you ski and snowboard you are at risk of being caught in an avalanche. Yes, even inbounds and yes, even in Australia. Knowing how to use an avalanche transceiver can be the difference between life and literal death both while skiing and snowboarding in Australasia and on snow holiday overseas.
 
With the rise of side country and backcountry skiing and boarding many resorts globally now offer the opportunity to practice your transceiver skills with beacon training parks within resort boundaries. In North America Revelstoke, Whitewater, Park City, Snowbird and others offer the opportunity to keep honing your beacon skills and Europe already boasts over 50 Avalanche Training Centres across Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France and Germany including Verbier, Cortina and Courchevel. 
 
Now it’s Australia’s overdue turn with the crew from Rescue Technologies partnering with Mountain Sports Collective to crowd fund raise to bring an automated Avalanche Training Centre to Australia with the goal to install the free training park hopefully at Mt Hotham to start.  
 
The concept is simple. The ATC is battery powered and operates autonomous for the entire season. It consists of a Control Unit (CU) mounted on a post together with the instructions on its use. In the marked area (about 100m by 100m) between five and 16 transceivers (victims) are placed at the start of the season and will get buried by snow.
 
Walk up to the ATC with an avalanche beacon and probe (this can be done solo or as a group exercise), press start and choose the number of victims and the time you want to give yourself to locate them. 
 
atc
 

Once you locate and narrow in on a signal you start your probe search. When you tap the ‘victim’ three times with the probe the Control Unit will give you an optical and acoustical signal. The exercise finishes when all chosen targets are located or your time has run out.

The best part is the unit lasts years with little to no maintenance and is fully autonomous. You just need an allocated area of snow laden terrain in which to set it up for skiers and boarders to come and practice their skills. 

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How you can make this happen

It’s not cheap, around $25 000 plus to get an ATC set up.

You can pledge your support, every $20 counts, or even potentially get corporate sponsorship of the beacon training park and fund the whole thing, right? Find all the information on this link where you can contribute to the crowdfund to make this happen. 

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.