Funded Projects2022 Funded Project: Crested Butte Avalanche Center

July 7, 2023

Preparing for the Unavoidable

The Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC) aims to prevent the loss of life, limb, and property due to natural and triggered occurrences of avalanches in Crested Butte and the surrounding backcountry. The organization offers residents and visitors valuable information and education by disseminating website, email, radio, social media, and newspaper content and various outreach events. As a part of the Crested Butte Avalanche Center’s education efforts, they issue daily avalanche advisories, including mountain weather forecasts, avalanche danger ratings, expected avalanche problems, travel advice, and forecast discussion through the winter season. While avalanches are unavoidable, the organization strives for zero fatalities in the Upper Gunnison Valley, with the last avalanche fatality occurring on December 18, 2020.

Investing in Public Safety

To honor Chris’ adventurous spirit, passion for travel, and love of people, the Chris Mikesell Foundation aims to support opportunities for young people to experience nature and recently awarded a $3,000 grant to the Crested Butte Avalanche Center. Many Crested Butte Avalanche Center team members were part of the tight-knit community that knew Chris and have been working with the Foundation since its inception. With the funds donated by the Foundation, the Crested Butte Avalanche Center was able to purchase a new snowmobile for the organization’s forecasters to study the snowpack and conduct field days in outlying areas in the backcountry, a critical element of publishing accurate daily avalanche forecasts throughout the winter season.

  • "The Chris Mikesell Foundation has funded the Crested Butte Avalanche Center for the past seven years...

    Chris’s passion for the backcountry played a key role in our organization connecting with the Foundation. We are very thankful for our partnership with the Chris Mikesell Foundation, as this funding continues to allow us to put out the best daily avalanche forecast we can all winter long.”

    —Karen Williams, Crested Butte Avalanche Center

Making a Life-Saving Impact

For the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, preventing the loss of life is a primary focus when evaluating the success of its advisories and outreach programs. Since December 18, 2020, there have been 28 fatalities across Colorado due to avalanches. But, the local decrease in avalanche fatalities in the Crested Butte Avalanche Center’s service area, despite the increase in backcountry recreation, shows they are making a positive, life-saving impact. The organization looks forward to partnering with the Chris Mikesell Foundation in the future to continue bettering the communities in which they serve.

To see a comprehensive history of organizations and causes the Foundation has supported, see all Funded Projects.

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