Classroom Extension Programs

Each year, the Telluride Avalanche School works with Telluride area classroom teachers to create experiential education programs that enhance the educational curricula of their classes. Whether students are studying the sciences, humanities or outdoor education, the Telluride Avalanche School is able to create programs that meet the needs of each student group. Our programs take students to outdoor classrooms so that they may explore the natural and cultural history of the Telluride region. The Telluride Avalanche School successfully works with a variety of local teachers to create specialized curricular experiences that meet their academic goals.

To this end, the Telluride Avalanche School has an extensive Avalanche Education program that reaches students in all area schools. A survey conducted in the Telluride Middle/High School in 2000, revealed that many students considered themselves expert skiers/riders with adequate knowledge to travel in Telluride’s backcountry, specifically through the Ski Area’s Backcountry Access Points. And yet, when asked how to recognize avalanche terrain, use avalanche rescue gear, or what to do in case of an emergency, most students exhibited a profound ignorance about proper protocols. The Telluride Ski Area has no way of controlling who may leave the ski area and enter the dangerous avalanche terrain of Bear Creek. It thus becomes the responsibility of local educational organizations to provide our youth with an adequate understanding of the profound dangers associated with skiing/riding Telluride’s Backcountry.

Living In Avalanche Country – An 8th Grade Science Unit

In conjunction with the Telluride School District’s Outdoor Education Program, The Telluride Avalanche School works each year with local teacher, Colin Hubbard to create a two-week 8th Grade Mini-Unit in Avalanche Education. Students in this program devote their science classes to learning about the geo-dynamics of avalanches and how weather, terrain, and snowpack all play significant roles in creation of avalanches. They gain an understanding of the basic physics of snow science and how the metamorphism of individual snow crystals results in a recipe for disaster. The program culminates in an in-depth field trip to Lizard Head Pass in which students join a variety of avalanche professionals to dig snowpits, learn avalanche rescue techniques and practice route-finding skills.