A Columbia-Shuswap organization is offering a fun and competitive way to learn snow-based recreational vehicle safety and avalanche preparedness.
The SKADI Foundation, based in Revelstoke and named after a Norse goddess of the mountains, is a registered nonprofit made up of volunteers who teach motorized mountain-vehicle safety and have a passion for emergency snow and avalanche training. On March 11 and 12, foundation hosts the Avalanche Games at the Eagle Pass snowmobile area in Sicamous.
The games are held over two days and are competition-based, getting snowmobilers to work to win cash prizes by showing off the snow safety and avalanche preparedness skills they would have taken previously in a voluntary class. The games allow for users to learn and demonstrate their abilities and are free for the public to watch, hopefully opening dialogue about best practices and the reality of avalanche situations, sharing the knowledge, reads the SKADI website.
The games are a timed event, with the fastest rescuers winning. March 11 is the individual competition. Users enter an enclosed course to show off rescue skills and slope angle estimation. They will demonstrate signal searching, course searching, fine searching and probing, as well as flagging and suppression skills. Bikers will be expected to estimate the slope angle and with every degree they are off, 10 seconds is added to their total time. There are also time penalties for mishandling probes. The registration fee for individuals is $45 and the first place prize is $1,000. Second and third place winners receive rescue equipment.
March 12 is the group rescue competition. The clock starts once the slope angle estimation is done and teams work to rescue two buried victims with a signal search, course search, and fine search, using probing and shoveling techniques. Group registration is $150 and first place takes home $3,000, followed by second and third place rescue gear prizes.
Interested motorists can register for both events on the SKADI Foundation website.
SKADI’s goal is to promote a cultural change in the motorized snow vehicle users’ community, emphasizing peer accountability, safety, education, communication and community involvement. It sponsors careers in the field through its ambassador program and hosts outreach tours in places with big snowmobiling populations to educate users and involve local suppliers. The foundation raises funds for its operations and to help snow vehicle users with unexpected costs related to equipment and safety needs, travel, medical attention and therapies.