Return to Paradise - The Skiing ProjectAlmost three decades ago Mike Vowels, a world class skier at Alpental, suffered a life changing traumatic injury on Lower Sideslip (a number of us still remember working that incident).
Recently Mike was back up up skiing Alpental on a Mono-Ski (sit ski). He is putting together a film, "Return to Paradise", documenting his journey of self exploration and discovery. He intends to use the film in lectures to raise funds for a non-profit,501(c)3, program for teaching injured soldiers (a.k.a., wounded warriors) how to ski using adaptive equipment that is customized to meet their individual needs. By going public with his story, telling of his recovery and a return to skiing some 28 years after a paralyzing skiing accident, his journey has lead him to new a opportunity; helping others and paying it forward.
Please click on the title to see Mike's description of his project and his plan to climb to Camp Muir on Mt Rainier.
Snow Fall - The Avalanche at Tunnel CreekHere is a must view for everyone who skis the back country.
This interactive article from the New York Times by John Branch on the avalanche at Tunnel Creek(back side of Stevens Pass ski area), Feb 19th, 2012, is extremely well done. It presents the beauty and excitement of fresh powder in the backcountry as well as, in this case, a tragic outcome for a group of very experienced skiers.
Interested in What it Takes to Run a TobogganTake a look at the video put together for the Alpental Toboggan Trainers. (click on the title)
Need Avalanche Practice/Training?Do you know About "Beacon Park" at Alpental?
Beacon Park is a self directed transceiver search practice area near the Alpental Ski Resort. Bring your transceiver and probe (if you don't have a probe, fixed length probes are available). The park is East of, across the road from, the main Alpental Ski Area parking lot. A control box is located on a pole on the right hand side, about 25 feet uphill. The control box allows you to select easy, medium, and expert scenarios (e.g. single and multiple burials). When you find a victim with your probe (please no digging!), a light flashes and horn sounds at the control box. When you have found all the victims, the control box will tell you how long it took to find each victim.
Beacon Park at Alpental is funded and maintained by the Alpental B.A.R.K. organization (click on title or reference http://www.summitatsnoqualmie.com/Mountains/Safety/859/Backcountry-Safety). The park is open 7 days a week during the winter, dependent upon snow. The park is also used by the Forest Service, Kittitas and King County Rescue groups, Alpental Ski Patrol, and other professional guiding services.
In addition to self directed use by interested individuals and groups, classes are taught on companion rescue and good backcountry practices. The classes include: proper beacon, probe and shovel usage, practice two person burials (one meter deep), and simulated rescue (recovery in 15 minutes or less).
Financial SupportThe Alpental Volunteer Ski Patrol is a 501(c)3 organization. We accept charitable contributions in support of our mission to provide education and emergency services to the skiing public. Donations may be made to AVSP, PO Box 494, Mercer Island, WA 98040.