The Sledhead Think Tank, a backcountry snowmobile safety outreach program was launched in Fernie at the Park Place Lodge this past weekend. The event sold out quickly and the evening was a great success.

The program was created in partnership with the Canadian Avalanche Association, the College of the Rockies, SnoRiders magazine and Zac’s Tracks. The events brought together snowmobilers and snow safety experts in a collaborative, constructive setting.

The highlights of the evening included an educational presentation by a Canadian Avalanche Centre representative, a presentation by snowmobile athlete and avalanche survivor Jeremy Hanke, and over $2500 of backcountry snow safety equipment that was given away. Hanke identified with the crowd and recognized the sadness in the eyes of those who have lost loved ones in avalanches. “My goal is to help eliminate the avalanche knowldege deficit with the snowmobile population.” said Hanke. “Within five years snowmobilers will be the most educated and organized users of the backcountry”.

Greg Goodison and Jimmy Drozduk, local helicopter pilots, also presented helicopter rescue capabilities and limitations, and how to perform a safe heli evacuation. Goodison said, “The $500 cost of flying out a broken sled is cheaper and safer that the alternatives”. Jimmy discussed Bighorns commitment to the community with their purchase of a hospital medi-evac helicopter that is similar to the Alberta based Stars program.

Teck Resources made a significant investment in the Sledhead Think Tank, a backcountry snowmobile safety outreach program that will benefit the communities. “This is a community-centred initiative,” said Nic Milligan, Manager of Government and Community Relations for Teck. “The care and value invested in the Sledhead Think Tank demonstrates Teck’s passionate commitment to health and safety in our communities.”

The January Sledhead Think Tank series will also be held at the following communities:

• Sparwood, January 8th, at Causeway Bay
• Elkford, January 14th,at Motor Inn
• Blairmore, January 15th, at Lions Pride Hall

The evening ended with a bib show of appreciation for Teck and round of support that the snopwmobile community is moving in the right direction with avalanche safety and prevention.

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