Letter: Backcountry community is growing; CAIC launches membership program | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Backcountry community is growing; CAIC launches membership program

When the ski areas in Colorado closed last March, we saw an incredible influx of backcountry users. Our partner shops sold out of backcountry gear within days, closed ski areas experienced uphill user numbers skyrocket, and trailhead parking lots were packed. During this time, we saw a stream of avalanche accidents. One-third of the entire season’s involvements occurred between March 14 and April 28, with 31 people caught and unfortunately, two people killed.

As we approach the winter of 2020-21, there continues to be a lot of uncertainty in our world. However, one thing remains certain — the mountains and backcountry use are not going anywhere, and we are expecting the 2020-21 season to be the busiest we have ever seen in Colorado’s backcountry. Our mission to support avalanche forecasting and education may be more important than ever this year, and we need your help.

Today, Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center is launching a membership program. This membership program is a direct investment in your personal safety and gives you a voice in avalanche safety throughout Colorado. Our goal at the Friends of CAIC is clear: to help keep people safe by supporting the avalanche safety products that you and all of Colorado’s backcountry users rely on.

By becoming a member of the Friends of CAIC, you will have the opportunity to showcase your support for the CAIC, avalanche safety and the backcountry community through your membership sticker, membership card, member events and membership gifts. Your membership will give us the support we need to continue our efforts in expanding Know Before You Go, developing avalanche safety videos and signage, creating outreach for new and existing users, building new web and mobile applications and supporting the CAIC’s forecast operations.

The backcountry community is growing. It is a community of like-minded people all after the same thing — those feelings of accomplishment, solace and refuge. We are different in our approach, our experience and our method, but one thing is constant — our passion for the mountains and the rewards they offer.

We are a group committed to safety. The safety of ourselves, our partners and our community. It is my hope that you will love this community enough to want to join us as a member and help us in our efforts to push avalanche safety forward in Colorado.

Aaron Carlson
Executive director of the Friends of CAIC

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