Founded in 2003, Friends of Berthoud Pass is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization based in Colorado. We are committed to preserving the legacy of public recreation at Berthoud Pass through safety, access and education. We are entirely funded by donations and staffed by volunteers. Our membership is active and diverse and our organization continues to grow and mature. We hope you’ll join us.
The pillars of our success as stewards of Berthoud Pass are below:
In 2004 we introduced our grassroots avalanche education program. Each year we offer 10 or more two-hour classroom avalanche awareness presentations followed in mid-winter by a full day on snow. The classroom sessions are attended by more than 1,200 people each year and the field sessions quickly reach the limited allotted registrations per day. All courses are free and open to the public. We follow standards set by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and we consult with highly respected educators in Colorado and elsewhere on our curriculum and course development. Since 2004 our Grassroots Avalanche Education program has taught basic avalanche safety and awareness to more than 10,000 people.
In our short history we have fashioned a new paradigm in winter recreation on public land. We successfully mobilized public involvement in lobbying the US Forest Service to incorporate the needs and wishes of winter backcountry users in their redevelopment plans and positioned ourselves as a key stakeholder in the policy process. The modern, yet rustic warming hut at the Berthoud Pass summit is just one example of FOBP collaboration. We are the Colorado Department of Transportation ‘Adopt-a-Highway’ sponsor for the Berthoud Pass summit, organize a National Public Lands Day service project, and collaborate with other land-preservation groups.
Friends of Berthoud Pass’ Grassroots Avalanche Education model puts teaching in everyone’s hands. Experienced volunteers show newcomers the basics of safe travel in the backcountry. In turn those volunteers acquire advanced training under the guidance of top educators in the field, on the understanding that they will come back to groom new instructors and so on. In this way, our peer-based educational model loops back around and each new generation learns by teaching. All of our volunteers must complete Avalanche Level 1, CPR and in-house training. In 2010 we launched a Scholarship Fund to enable our volunteer instructors to pursue advanced studies in avalanche science, safety and education.
Our members and executive board continually attend conferences to learn, and to share our experience with other professionals around the country. We regularly attend the Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop and Colorado Mountain Weather Workshop, the Ski Industry Association trade show and the Winter Wildlands Alliance grassroots advocacy conference. More than 90% of our volunteer instructors are members of the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and have completed Avalanche Level 2 and Wilderness First Aid courses. Several hold, or are pursuing, professional certifications and all are required to undergo in-house training. We are members of the Colorado Association of Non-Profits, the Winter Wildlands Alliance, Backcountry Snowsports Initiative, Snowsports Industries of America and other professional organizations.