Avalanche Beacon Check Stations Installed At Two Popular Trailheads In The Snowy Range

Are you beeping?

By: Jules Morgan

The Snowy Range Snowmobile Club, in partnership with the Wyoming State Trails Program and the Medicine Bow National Forest, has installed two avalanche beacon check stations in the Snowy Range. These beacon check stations encourage all recreational users to find out “Are You Beeping?” — the tagline for a national safety campaign to ensure backcountry users know they are equipped with a functioning avalanche transceiver prior to venturing into potential avalanche terrain.

Members of the Snowy Range Snowmobile Club presented the idea to the Club in the fall of 2017 after seeing similar check stations at popular snowmobile trailheads in Colorado, such as Rabbit Ears and Buffalo Pass. The Club contacted avalanche safety instructor Brian Lundstedt, founder of Tyler’s Backcountry Awareness (TBA) and longtime Club member, about obtaining signs for the Snowy Range – the first of their kind in Wyoming geared towards the snowmobile community. Brian shares his passion for snowmobiling and dedication to the promotion of avalanche awareness education by building and testing each check station at TBA. The stations incorporate beacon checking technology from Ortovox, a German manufacturer of snow safety equipment, and graphics from ArcticFX.

The user-friendly check stations display illuminated green arcs and sound a tone if a properly function avalanche beacon is presented. A malfunctioning beacon will display a red triangle, indicating the user should service their equipment. Snowmobilers, skiers or any backcountry user can simply approach the sign, keeping a ten-foot spacing from other users; the station performs the checks and provides sight and sound feedback automatically.

Always carry a functional avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe and shovel when snowmobiling, skiing, boarding or traveling in potential avalanche terrain. Know before you go by checking the current avalanche and weather forecasts, train regularly with your equipment and riding partners and most importantly, travel smart and stay safe when in avalanche prone areas.

The beacon check stations were purchased by the Club through the generous support of Front Range Powersports (Ft. Collins, CO), Frontier Cycles (Laramie, WY), TNT Motorsports (Laramie, WY), Driven Powersports (Casper, WY), Shively Hardware (Saratoga, WY), and Borderline Power Sports (Cheyenne, WY). The stations are located on the Snowy Range snowmobile trail system in cooperation with the Wyoming State Trails Program and the Medicine Bow National Forest. The Snowy Range Snowmobile Club maintains the stations. The Club has plans to place future stations at additional winter trailheads based on user support and availability of funding.

Beacon check stations are located on the Laramie Ranger District (Albany) above the Green Rock trailhead on Wyoming State Trail ‘U’ and on the Brush Creek District (Carbon) on Wyoming State Snowmobile Trail ‘CE’ past the Chain’s End parking area. The Club will be offering orientation sessions for users on Saturday, February 3 (Green Rock) and Sunday, February 4 (Chains End). Users are encouraged to stop and learn about the stations, have coffee and donuts and most importantly find out “Are You Beeping?”

The Snowy Range Snowmobile Club, based in Laramie, Wyoming, advocates for the snowmobile community by promoting safe, responsible and continued access to public lands for off-trail backcountry riding, quality groomed trail systems and winter trailhead facilities in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre riding areas of southeast Wyoming and across the rocky mountain region.