As the mantra goes: Practice makes perfect. The ability to respond successfully in an avalanche boils down to training and knowing how to use your equipment: a beacon, probe, and shovel. Beacon Training Parks provide users of all ages, abilities, and experience levels with an opportunity to hone the requisite skillsets.  

Each site consists of one control panel that activates up to eight buried units in the surrounding area. Once the control panel activates a buried unit, users can shift into search mode. Users can practice their search and probing skills until striking the buried unit. Probe strikes are confirmed at the control panel by an audible beep.

Missoula Avalanche’s fundraising efforts delivered the first Beacon Training Park in west-central Montana in 2008, located just outside the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. Continued community support and regional partnerships have allowed us to expand this training opportunity throughout the west-central Montana forecast area. Today, we provide four Beacon Training Parks at high-use locations throughout the region.  

This winter, Missoula Avalanche replaced the aging Montana Snowbowl site with a brand new wireless training park. This update was made possible through the generosity of Missoula Avalanche board member David Bosler. The newly installed Peter Maxwell Memorial Beacon Training Park, located at Montana Snowbowl, honors the Missoula skier lost to a tragic avalanche accident in 2014.

It is our privilege to provide and maintain safe training locations for all winter recreationists. We hope that these valuable sites enable everyone to practice, practice, and more practice and make it home to ski and ride another day. It’s good to remember that when the avalanche danger is high you can always head to a Beacon Training Park.

Volunteer efforts and regional partnerships allow us to connect communities to avalanche information and provide free educational opportunities. We are grateful for the continued community support that ensures these sites remain available throughout the winter. Please click HERE for more information about each location, and don’t forget to tell your friends!