Try a night of extreme sports: climbing, paddling, mountain biking, BASE jumping, skiing and snowboarding. You don’t need equipment. You don’t need to risk life or limb.
You can enjoy it all by sitting in the safety of the Grand County High School auditorium.
“Radical Reels” is a selection of the best high adrenaline films entered into the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Competition. The Friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center is hosting the Radical Reels Night as a fundraiser 7 p.m., Oct. 8.
“They get a lot of films at the Banff Festival,” said Ed Grote, a Friend of the La Sal Avalanche Center. “These are the ones that are higher adrenaline. This is more high energy sports.”
The Friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center provides community support to the La Sal Avalanche Center. The money goes to maintain weather stations, computers and other equipment needed by the Manti LaSal National Forest district to run the center. The Friends also sponsor education and community outreach programs.
“The goal of the avalanche forecast center is to provide a safe environment for winter recreation,” said Gerrish Willis, one of the Friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center. “Stay safe and happy on top of the snow, rather than being buried under.”
The Friends are also an important part of Grand County’s Search and Rescue.
“We all have avalanche gear. We have probes and shovels,” Grote said.
The Friends were part of the crew to recover the body of Garret Carothers, a Colorado snowmobiler that was caught in an avalanche in Beaver Basin on the La Sal Mountains March 3.
Willis noted that the Colorado snowmobilers had the right kind of equipment and appeared to know what they were doing. The accident emphasized the importance of having a forecast center.
“They probably didn’t know how to access the forecast here,” Willis said. “They were kind of savvy, but if they had the forecast maybe they would have made different decisions about where they were going.”
The Friends of the Avalanche Center was organized after a 1992 avalanche in Gold Basin killed Mark Yates, Maribel Loveridge, William Turk and Jeremy Hopkins. The four victims, plus Craig Bigler and Steve Mileski were on a snow testing ski trip when the slope fell, burying all six. Bigler and Mileski were able to dig out of the snow and survived.
The Friends are seeking additional funds this year. A solar panel and battery was stolen from the Gold Basin weather station.
“We had it up on a huge tower,” Grote said. “They would have had to have harnesses in order to work with two hands,” Grote said. “I don’t think the forest service has money to replace it. We may need the cash for that.”
Grote and Willis hope for a packed house.
“We’re hoping we get a really good turnout because it is for a good cause,” Willis said. “We hope they come out to support us.”