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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Vermeer

Part 7 of 7: Central Oregon Avalanche Center expands avalanche advisory areas for heavily motorized zone Annual Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes benefits motorized community, rider safety

Updated: Jun 20

The 2022 Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes provided seven grants ranging from $2,100 to $10,000 to national Avalanche Centers in support of motorized-focused projects and programs to improve motorized snow safety. 


This seven-part series details what’s happening at Avalanche Centers across the country and how the sweepstakes is strengthening the motorized snowsports community's connection with Avalanche Centers by supporting the work they are doing for snowmobilers, snowbikers and more.  



Central Oregon Avalanche Center (COAC) - Bend, Oregon

Grant amount: $10,000


A $10,000 grant from the 2023 Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes will allow the Bend, Oregon-based Central Oregon Avalanche Center to increase forecasting near Paulina Peak, a heavily-used motorized zone with many groomed and off-trail areas with possible avalanche danger.


“The Paulina Peak area has very technical terrain,” said COAC’s Development Director, Lauren Altemari. “There's a ton of terrain traps. It's steep, and it is not forgiving. It's incredibly dangerous.” 


This year’s $10,000 sweepstakes grant will expand COAC forecast advisories with two observations per week from the upper station on Paulina Peak, the highest point (7,984 feet) on the Newberry Volcano, one of the largest active volcanoes in the United States. 


Historically, we have only provided forecasts for the Central Cascade zone, which has a much different snowpack than the Paulina Peak area, which can pretty much only be accessed to riders or skiers by motorized users, who are the primary frequenters of that area,” Altemari said, adding that the Paulina Peak forecast will be different from the others. “This area has historically had an extremely different weather pattern and oftentimes more volatile snowpack than the Central Cascades area we are currently forecasting.”


Altemari’s reaction to news of receiving the grant brought her to tears. 


“Being able to provide education is a huge step for our center and for the motorized community to get the resources they need to recreate safely in that area,” she said.



Before and after clearing off snow and ice at the upper station on Paulina Peak (Photos by COAC Forecaster, Aaron Hartz)


In 2022, a private $10,000 donation provided the center with its first weather station, the Tyler Heilman Weather station, which reports wind and temperature data from the “extremely dangerous and unforgiving terrain” on Paulina Peak. 


“We have received numerous requests from the motorized community to forecast/issue advisories for this area, as most of the places frequented are in avalanche terrain with unforgiving terrain traps,” she said. 


Altemari said the center hopes to eventually provide full forecasting operations for the Paulina Peak area and continue increasing its presence in the motorized community.


We're all backcountry users,” she said. “It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, your skier,’ or ‘Oh, your rider.’ We're all out there playing in the same terrain and we should have equal opportunity for the same education.” 



Central Oregon Avalanche Center


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The 2023 Avalanche Alliance Sweepstakes, which closed December 10, 2023, featured a customized grand prize 2023 Polaris Patriot Boost RMK Khaos Slash 165 2.75" upgraded with a custom ArcticFX Graphics wrap, IceAge Performance Rails, HELLFIRE wheels, STRYKER A-Arms and ELEVATE spindles, SLP MoHawk skis, head, silencer and clutch kit, ZRP master cylinder cover, a lightweight rotor, titanium bolt kit and billet steering post, Pro Armor Bumpers, Exit shocks, Zbroz pull handle, Zbroz stirrups and Seat Concepts seat. First, second and third prizes include a Marlon Xplore PRO II sled deck, KLIM head-to-toe winter package, an Arctic Cat ZR 200 and an Ortovox safety package. 


Now in its fourth year, the Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes unites snowmobilers, snowbikers, manufacturers, avalanche centers and riders in a collective effort to endorse avalanche safety initiatives. Proceeds from the 2023 sweepstakes will be awarded to Avalanche Centers in support of motorized-focused programs with the goal to join forces and raise funds for avalanche education scholarships while expanding avalanche forecasts in popular motorized areas across the nation. 


For more info on the Avalanche Alliance, visit: avalanche-alliance.org


About Avalanche Alliance

Avalanche Alliance’s mission is to raise avalanche awareness and improve backcountry safety for motorized users. With a full spectrum of focuses ranging from sponsoring beacon check stations to supporting avalanche educators, Avalanche Alliance is at the forefront of avalanche safety improvement. For more information, visit avalanche-alliance.org.


About AIARE

AIARE was established in 1998 as a nonprofit educational organization to address the need for a nationally recognized curriculum for avalanche education in the USA. Since that time AIARE has developed research-based Professional and Recreational avalanche training for backcountry users in the United States, South America and Europe. AIARE’s Recreational Program is represented by over 115 course providers and650 AIARE-trained instructors; the Professional Program designs and instructs workplace safety training for professionals working in the avalanche industry. Through these programs, AIARE educates over 19,000 students annually. 


In 2017, AIARE created an official Motorized Program aimed to increase educational resources, participation and awareness in the motorized community. Working alongside experts in the snowmobile community, we’ve trained 48 snowmobilers to professional instructor standards, and separately 52 have received professional certificates to date. AIARE’s created motorized-specific training for recreational users is available across the US west.


AIARE’s partnership with the Live Large University (LLU) scholarship fund is intended to support motorized backcountry riders. While AIARE has a robust network of 115 providers in the US, currently 9 providers exclusively teach motorized-specific programming. The Live Large University scholarship’s goal is to increase the number of trained motorized professionals, improving the AIARE network's ability to  serve the motorized community. The LLU fund awards full and partial scholarships to students taking AIARE Motorized Recreational Courses, PRO 1, PRO 2 and Instructor Training Courses. For more information, visit avtraining.org.


About KLIM

KLIM Technical Riding Gear is a global leader in designing, developing, sourcing and distributing the most advanced powersports apparel for snowmobile, motorcycle and off-road riding. Utilizing the world’s most premium technologies in waterproof, breathable, durable and comfortable materials, KLIM offers gear for the most demanding riders. Driven by the continual feedback and input from dedicated test pilots and passionate customers, KLIM strives to do one thing above all – enhance the riding experience. For more information, visit KLIM.com.


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