March President's Column

27 Feb 2021 4:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Since we haven’t been able to meet in person for a while, at the last board of directors’ meeting we decided to try a virtual meeting.   So, Tuesday evening March 2nd at 7pm, we will have a meeting via ZOOM.  We also have a guest speaker lined up to give a brief talk.  I’m looking forward to at least getting to see some faces that I haven’t seen in a while.  To get an invitation to the virtual meeting, you can either send me an email (rjtram@gmail.com) or a text (423-827-2779) with your name and email address.  We will also be sending out a group email to the membership, probably about the same time this newsletter goes out, with the same instructions.  Then the morning of the meeting (March 2nd), those that have replied, will receive a meeting invitation.  

At the next in-person membership meeting, which could occur as early as April, we will have elections of officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) for the 2021-2022 year.  Jim Bates has agreed to be the Nominating Committee Chair for the election, whenever we get to have it.  If you are interested in running for one of these offices, please contact Jim at (706)-537-6331 or jimbates18@gmail.com 

Be sure to read Jim Mullenix’s article about the just completed Taos ski trip.  I know everyone is wondering about what trips we will have in the winter of 2021-2022.  Scott Kramer, our Trip Coordinator is hard at work, using the results of December’s survey, determining where we will be going.  As we finalize things we will pass on the information.

In Summit County Colorado two back country skiers are on trial for reckless endangerment.  The District Attorney says they endangered drivers when they skied above the west portal of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels on March 25, 2020 and they should pay $168,000 to replace an avalanche mitigation system destroyed in the slide.  The case marks the first-ever criminal charges filed against skiers involved in an avalanche in Colorado.

On a related, but much sadder note, the first week of February, between the 1st and the 8th, a record was set for the highest number of avalanche deaths recorded in a seven-day period since the US Forest Service's National Avalanche Center started tracking deaths.  During this week fifteen people, including an Army Ranger who survived a helicopter crash in Iraq, died in eight separate incidents in seven different states.  So far this season there have been 29 fatalities, surpassing last year’s season total of 23.  In many of these cases the skiers were considered to be highly knowledgeable regarding backcountry safety, and well equipped with the right gear. I think the people at Ski Essentials (Top Five Fridays: February 12, 2021 - Chairlift Chat (skiessentials.com)) summed it up well by saying “Unfortunately, this serves as an extremely sad reminder that the forces of nature do not care who you are or what you know. Avalanches are a very real danger for anyone in the backcountry, and the best piece of safety equipment is a strict vigilance to an awareness of the conditions.”  Before anyone gets overly concerned about this, none of these occurred “in-bounds” at ski resorts, but if you are the adventurous type that goes into the back-country, be aware of the hazards. 

Last, please join me in welcoming our new members: Kimberly Everett and Jaimie Abbott. 

Stay safe everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing your smiling faces March 2nd!

Bob