Beacons, Probes, Shovels, and Education- El Colorado Patrol (August, 2013).

Thanks to a Generous Donation by the Theo Meiners Snow Safety Foundation we were able to equip all 30 of the Professional Ski Patrollers from El Colorado with beacons, shovels, and probes! El Colorado borders and avalanche path named by the Theo in 1993, Santa Teresita. This path has claimed several lives, and closed the road to Valle Nevado in several different avalanches. Through this partnership the “Pisteros” (Patrol) from El Colorado received tools which were long overdue, and training to go with them training.

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Training Mountain Operations- La Parva, Chile (August, 2013).

We had multiple trainings at La Parva this year, 2 Avalanche Awareness presentations with the ski club, and an indoor and outdoor training session with Mountain Operations. Here’s a picture of the indoor section of this mountain operations training.

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2nd Annual SABP Avalanche Awareness Presentation- Las Trancas, Chile (July, 2013).

Over 50 people came from this mountain community to our second annual avalanche awareness presentation in Las Trancas. Chile. Thanks once again to BackChillan (Manu, Panchi, and Pipe) for the organization, promotion, and passion for avalanche education in this community!


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Training at Corralco- Volcan Lonquimay, Chile (July, 2013).

Once again happy to return to Corralco on Volcan Lonquimay. Next year Corralco will put in a new lift “Cumbre” which will allow guests to reach incredible terrain. This incredible terrain goes through areas which has historically have seen numerous slides. So this years beacons and training was crucial. Thanks to Tito, Johnny Avalancha, and  Victor for making this happen!


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Practica de rescate con Patrulla de Ski Chile Chillan

July 28th, 2013 Rescue Scenario Practice with Ski Chile Patrollers and Chillan Patrollers. Philippe Gauthier, ACMG guide, demonstrates…

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2013 South American Beacon Project: Update So Far!

June 2013
Rio Turbio Argentina: Club Andino-Pisteros-Milicos / 2 day course

July 2013:
Puerto Natales Cuerpo Socorro / 6 hour class

Volcan Osorno: 6 hour class / 5 beacons donated (photo below)

Mid July:
Volcan Villarrica – Hasty Drill Class

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2012 South American Beacon Project: Wrap-Up

In August of 2012, Ortovox Germany supported the South American Beacon Project at Nevados de Chillán for a tech-specific beacon clinic aimed at snowcat drivers and ski area employees who would not normally consider themselves at-risk for avalanche danger. Sadly, a snowcat driver was killed in an avalanche last year at Nevados de Chillán while he was clearing the road to the ski area. Just another way the South American Beacon Project is helping to educate everyone about avalanches, not just ski patrollers.

September 2012: SABP founder Alex Taran was joined by the late, great Theo Meiners and Camila Bahamonde in El Colorado for three days of snow safety instruction. Read more about it here, on Alex’s personal website.

Lonquimay-Corralco: 2 day course available for lift operators, ski instructors, and ski patrollers. Beacons were donated and left there for the safety of the ski area employees! Photo below.

Villarrica-Pucón: “It is not that patrollers have no concept of the avalanche danger or safety protocol, it’s
just that these skills become rusty without practice. Some of them even have a level 2 certification. It’s hard to practice these skills without the proper equipment.” The SABP donated 8 beacons, shovels, and probes to the Volcan-Villarrica crew.

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15 Beacons, 15 Probes, and 15 Shovels to El Colorado Patrol (Aug 2012)

Thanks to a big donation from Ortovox we at the South American beacon project
are happy to be able to give 15 beacons, shovels, and probes to El Colorado Patrol. El Colorado borders (and actually owns the majority) of an area known as “Santa Teresita.” This area includes a multitude of 2,000 ft slide paths that end on the road to Valle Nevado.

Some would argue that it is the biggest lift accessed terrain in Chile (while not officially open to the public). In 2008 this path slid and closed the road to Valle for several days, as well as in a separate incident created a fatal avalanche accident.

Previous to this donation El Colorado had 4 beacons for 30 patrollers. El Colorado patrol is changing drastically to equip and educate all of their patrollers in the realm of avalanche safety.  The South American Beacon Project is proud to be able to be a part of this change.

On August 28th the Patrol will meet for a mock rescue drill, and on September 12th and 13th we will be meeting once again for a 2 day basic avalanche education class…stay tuned for future reports


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La Parva, El Colorado, and Valle Nevado SABP Collaboration with Ortovox for Tres Valles Beacon Class (Aug 2012)

Santiago Chile has a population of 7 million people. It is by far the biggest concentration of people in country, which is comprised of only 16 million people. When Santiago chooses to go ski, it will most likely choose to go to the Tres Valles. “Tres Valles” is the term the locals use to describe three ski areas: La Parva, El Colorado, and Valle Nevado. Each ski area while connected by boundaries, function individually.  They have their own lifts, patrol, and ticket system; they are entirely different companies, who don’t work together on anything really.

The South American Beacon Project in Conjunction with Ortovox changed that this year. On August 8th, patrollers came from all three resorts to La Parva for a class specifically on beacon technology. This is the first time to our knowledge all the ski areas have met for unified rescue training.

The class started inside and covered subjects as basic as partner rescue, and as complex as overlapping signals and the effects on different digital beacons. Then the class went outside and went through flux line and searching exercises.

This is an exciting start to more unified avalanche education in the Tres Valles area



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42 Beacons, Ketchum Fire Department, and Marshmallow Candy (February-March 2012)

For a lot of us in ski towns beacons are a part of our essential gear, myself as a worker in a rescue organization (ski patroller), I wear one everyday.  Every couple years our department updates our beacons to ensure that we as rescuers have the latest avalanche rescue technology, after all that is our job.  Not all rescue organizations who use beacons are solely skiing related organizations.

The Fire department in Ketchum Idaho is a great example of this case. As it came time to replace their old fleet with newer technology the department was left with 25 Ortovox M2s. Enter Miles Canfield, a firefighter who saw a second, very important life for the beacons.

“I like knowing that a tool that was once valuable to me can be passed on to some one to appreciate it…when you have nothing, you are happy to have anything,” says Miles about donating to South American Workers effected by the project.

But donating the department’s old fleet was not end; Miles held a town wide beacon drive published in the Idaho Mountain Express. In late march we received a box containing not just the:

  • 25 original departments beacon, but
  • 17 beacons donated by people in the town of Ketchum,
  • 1 copy of the newspaper article from the Idaho Mountain Express and
  • 1 peeps (the kind made out of marshmallows that your mom probably wanted to kill you for plastering her microwave with…as an experiment of course).

Nice touch Miles

This donation is the South American Beacon Projects biggest donation yet.

So a huge thanks to Miles Canfield and his fellow members of the Ketchum Fire Department, as well as all the people in and around the area surrounding Ketchum who donated. Please stay tuned to our website to see the awesome effects of your life changing donations!

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