weston helps vail pass meet the surge in backcountry use with newly installed beacon checkers
"Avalanche safety is the top priority in educating new users, and along with an informational display, the Vail Pass recreation area now has beacon scanning checkpoints, where users can ensure their tracking beacons – crucial pieces of equipment in the backcountry – are working properly before heading out on an adventure."
Weston joined forces with beacon manufacturer Backcountry Access, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and the National Forest Service to design and install solar powered beacon checkers at two trailheads on Vail Pass. One on the motorized access side along Shrine road, and the other on the human powered access on the trail to Uneva peak. Vail Pass is a truly unique gem offering a broad spectrum of users from snowmobilers to skiers and snowshoers with access to over 55,000 acres of public land, and 119 miles of trail. With Vail Pass and many other public recreational areas in Colorado seeing an increase in visitors this season, outreach efforts to install beacon checkers are being made in hopes to promote avalanche awareness and safety among new and experienced backcountry users alike.
When a beacon is in the correct mode, transmit, a green circle appears letting the user know they are in the right setting. Before parties would have to manually check their beacon's functionality, leaving more room of error for somebody not putting theirs back into transmit mode. (Photo: Chris Dillman, Vail Daily.)
"Having these beacon checkers in place helps to promote avalanche awareness, education and encourages checking the daily
avalanche forecast. These checkers provide an additional check by testing if your transceivers are transmitting a signal properly before heading into the field" says Brian Lazar, Deputy Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Weston hopes to use Vail Pass as a use case to model out other high traffic areas that don’t have other solutions in place such as Loveland and Berthoud Pass and even areas outside Colorado over the coming years. For any groups interested in participating, Weston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.