Free avalanche course open to the general public Sunday

An all-day avalanche awareness class, complete with companion rescue training will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20 at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

This class is free and open to the public and includes instruction on how to identify avalanche terrain, how to do weather assessments and how to use that information to evaluate snowpack stability. Participants will also learn about safe travel practices in avalanche terrain, how to dig snow pits and how to use avalanche rescue gear and perform companion rescue.

Tom Mattice, City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Coordinator, will lead the class and Field Assistant Chris Eckel, will assist.

Mattice said he favors having two instructors to allow for more one-on-one time with students.

“It’s a lot to fit into one day,” Mattice said. “The general idea is to give people a basic understanding of avalanche awareness.”

Participants should bring their own gear, if they have it, he said. There will also be gear provided for loan during the class.

Instruction will be held on the ski hill. Mattice said a trail pass or season pass and ski gear are not required. Participants should dress for the weather and be prepared to spend a day outside.

To sign up for the class, call Mattice at 209-9207, or email him at


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