Monday, November 24th, 2014
Backcountry Preparedness at the Mt. Baker Beacon (+BACON) Rally
Todd Elsworth

Head up to the Mt. Baker Ski Area on Saturday, December 13, 2014 to prepare and practice for a safe season of snowbound fun ahead. The Baker Beacon (+ BACON) Rally is fully loaded and ready to release a ton of fun and education for FREE. This event is for people with the prerequisite knowledge and standard equipment. Practice makes perfect and will help keep you and your ski buddies alive and well through the season. Photo below is a naturally released avalanche in the Mt. Baker Ski Area backcountry wilderness area.

100 year avlanche

Grant Gunderson Photography

Mt Baker Education Center, REI and a sluff-load of avalanche educators invite you to a free Backcountry Education Day at Mt Baker. Learn and practice basic search technique with your beacon, shovel and probe. Beginners and Seasoned Veterans are welcome. Beacon practice stations, companion rescue demonstrations and a two lane beacon search race course with over $6,000 in SWAG means you should be there if spending time out of bounds. Attendees should have their own Beacon, Probe and Shovel.” – REI Bellingham


Pat Kennedy Photography

“The event is designed for someone to arrive any time between 11am-2pm and participate. We have a 2 lane race course with multiple beacons to search for in each lane. 2 multiple burial scenarios for people to practice in team scenarios.  8 stations to practice with an avalanche educator on beacon, probe & shovel use. And three speakers giving talks on avalanche rescue topics in 15 minute sessions.  No set schedule will allow maximum flexibility towards education. Arrive, and participate in what you prefer.  More participation means more raffle tickets towards the $6,000 in prizes,” explains Pat Kennedy, Event Organizer, Great Guy and Photographer! The rest of the event team includes Jeff Hambelton, Eliah Drake-Raue, Sierra Sahlfeld and Kerry Herman.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Shown above is Steve Christie, Director of Sales at Backcountry Access (BCA), talking about terrain evaluation at the Mt. Baker Beacon Rally 2013 – story by Mt. Baker Experience Magazine.

Below is one of the happy past winners of a 3 day Level 1 AIARE course from the American Alpine Institute (AAI), based in Bellingham, WA, which offers many courses (and global trips) to choose from. These courses are essential for all types of snow-bound explorers. “On average 37 people are killed each year by avalanches in the United States alone. Almost all of these avalanches are started by the people caught in them. Some basic level or training and knowledge can dramatically increase your margin of safety while traveling in the backcountry.” – AAI.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Oh yea, and BACON – 50 pounds of yummy goodness from Carne Bellingham will be served at the event. I heard they even hide it in the snow to rescue! Quite the find.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Get your ski partners together and head up to the mountain to hone your skills, play in the snow, win some prizes and EAT BACON!

Mount Baker Beacon Rally
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Saturday, December 13th
Start: 11:00 am
Awards:  2:30-3:00 pm

FREE Event

Bring your Avalanche Beacon, Shovel and Probe!

Photography Credits: Grant Gunderson & Pat Kennedy. Thanks Guys!!

For Reference:

Mt Baker Safety – Mountain Education Programs

Northwest Avalanche Center

See Todd’s Insider Topics for more outdoor recreation tips near Bellingham

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About the Author:

As the co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. He enjoys biking, hiking, paddling, skiing and will try anything twice. Get connected at

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