Scott Wesley, founding member, Alpental Ski PatrolScott Wesley, one of the founding members of the Alpental Volunteer Ski Patrol, has passed away at the age of 75 in Hailey, ID (his obituary is available by clicking on the title).
In the fall of 1967 a group consisting of Bill Murray, Dave Riggs, Hal Nelson, and Scott Wesley defined requirements for and purchased hill safety equipment, laid out the first aid room and patrol room, and helped prepare the area safety plan. Dave Riggs became the first area manager and Bill Murray the first patrol director. Scott was one of 10 experienced patrollers and 30 brand new applicants who volunteered the first season at Alpental. It was a successful first season, although 75% of the major accidents on the hill were ski patrollers, not unexpected because 75% of the major skiing was done by patrollers.
Scott was active on the Alpental ski patrol through 1997, and most recently as patrol director at the Rotarun ski area in Hailey. He held a number of administrative and training positions at Alpental and at the Northwest Region level, receiving awards at the local, regional, divisional, and national levels. He is probably best remembered for his work in the area of training patrollers to run toboggans. Using the skills acquired teaching school in Tacoma, WA, and his on the hill experience and observations, Scott was principle in preparing recommended procedures and methods of teaching new patrollers how to run toboggans in the unique and challenging terrain of Alpental. As founding director of the Cascade Toboggan Demonstration Team, he and the team demonstrated these techniques all over the Western US and Canada.
The ski patrol community has lost a long time valued teacher and mentor.
Snow Fall - The Avalanche at Tunnel CreekThis older story has appeared here before, but as we begin a new season it 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.