Have you ever wondered how something works or how something was made? In the monthly Science Behind series, we partner with a guest presenter to explore a large variety of interesting topics. The Science Behind series offers opportunities for adults to apply new knowledge and skills to everyday life, while having fun!
** This Science Behind event took place in January, 2017 **
The Science Behind Avalanches & Snow
Stepping outside into a winter wonderland in the high Rockies is a gift. Travelers trek from near and far battling traffic, ice, and snow for the chance to experience a true winter vacation. Locals who call these mountains home give thanks to Ullr for our famous champagne powder and bluebird days. What many may not realize is how significantly snow and weather processes impact our community and the individuals who recreate here. Understanding the science of snow, weather, and avalanches is important now more than ever as winter tourism and opportunities to explore continue to grow.
Join Walking Mountains Science Center with special guests Kelli and Kreston Rohrig from White Room Adventure Tours for an evening discussing the basics of avalanche science and safety. Participants will explore the fundamentals of snow, weather, and avalanche principles and processes while considering safe and efficient winter travel practices. On Thursday, January 12th from 6:30 to 8:30pm both novices and enthusiasts will find value in this free presentation. Vail Brewing Company is generously sponsoring this event and will be providing free beer for of-age program participants.
In Colorado there is no way to determine the number of people caught or buried in avalanches each year, because most non-fatal avalanche incidents are not reported. However, since 1950 over 250 individuals have lost their lives to the incredible force and strength of avalanches. That’s more than California, Utah, and Montana combined. What is it about our snowpack that leaves Colorado backcountry enthusiasts more exposed and vulnerable? How can education and awareness prevent future tragedies in our mountains? Understanding the basics of our snowpack’s formation and how to read the landscape for tell-tale signs of avalanche danger is fundamental knowledge for every high country traveler.
Kreston and Kelli Rohrig are lifelong skiers, both having learned to ski before they could run. As native Coloradoans, they have been exposed to the outdoors since their days in diapers. The couple is on the constant look out for the next beautiful spot to play- be it on skis, bikes, in shoes or in a kayak. Kreston and Kelli love to share their stashes and special places with others who appreciate the great outdoors and love to play.
Kelli is truly a “jack of all trades” having competed as a professional mountain biker, the US telemark extremes tour, and an adventure racer. Through the successes and not so successful times, Kelli learned what it is to be passionate about the outdoors. Over the years, Kelli has had the opportunity to share her skills and passion with others. She has her ACA certificate for teaching kayaking, has coached both alpine and Nordic skiing, was an instructor for Babes in the Backcountry telemark camps, is an EMT, and has multiple years of avalanche training.
Kreston is a fifth-year ski patroller with experience in both the Rocky Mountains and the Alps. He is a textbook ski junkie and usually logs over 150 days a year on the snow. A graduate of CU- Boulder with a BA in Environmental Science, Kreston is also a nationally certified EMT, has his Wilderness First Responder, is Avalanche 2 certified, is the lead for lift evacuation at Beaver Creek and is en route to qualifying for his blaster’s license. On top of all that, he is also an assistant avalanche dog handler working on rescues in Eagle County.
IF YOU GO...
What: The Science Behind Avalanches
When Thursday, January 12, 2016 | 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: Walking Mountains Science Center
Cost: FREE, $5 suggested donation