Safe As Clinics: Empowering Women In The Mountains

Safe As Clinics: Empowering Women In The Mountains

Safety is paramount in the vast world of winter sports and mountain adventures. Recognizing the need for specialized education, the Safe As Clinic has emerged as a beacon, particularly for women seeking to navigate the backcountry more confidently.

What is Safe As?

Safe As is not just a clinic; it's a movement, a commitment to empowering individuals with the skills and awareness necessary to navigate avalanche-prone terrain safely. Founded by the inspiring professional athlete Michelle Parker and friends, Safe As aims to create a community of educated and responsible winter enthusiasts with clinics held throughout the winter season in locations like Palisades, Tahoe in California.


Who created the Safe As clinics?

Now entering year 12, the Safe As Clinics began with Anon Athlete Michelle Parker and her circle of accomplished friends, including Kam Weakly, Elyse Saugstad, Jackie Paaso, Ingrid Backstrom, Lel Tone, and Sherry McConkey to foster an open, welcoming, and enthusiastic environment to encourage participation and communication in the mountains during the winter safely.

Their passion for winter sports and commitment to safety led them to create a platform beyond traditional avalanche education. The clinics are one-day, introductory-level courses based on the AIARE curriculum. Partial proceeds from the events are donated to snow community non-profits.


What is it, Who is it For, Where is it?

  • Safe As was originally founded by and for women, though they have added an all gender clinic inclusive to all. It caters to those who seek to enhance their avalanche awareness and safety skills. With clinics held at Palisades Tahoe, Safe As brings backcountry education to an accessible resort setting.

    Safe As recognizes the unique dynamics women bring to the backcountry. The women’s specific clinic provides a supportive environment for female-identifying participants, and all clinics foster a sense of camaraderie and empowerment.
  • The clinic's curriculum is crafted and delivered by seasoned professionals with extensive experience in avalanche education and winter sports. Participants can trust that they are learning from the best in the field.

What to Expect During the Course (In-Class + On-Snow Education):

  • Safe As offers a comprehensive learning experience that combines classroom sessions with hands-on, on-snow education. From understanding avalanche terrain to practicing rescue techniques, participants gain practical skills that can save lives.

    These experienced snow experts - all qualified as professional skiers, guides, avalanche course instructors and ski patrollers - contribute with a combination of crucial education and personal anecdotes they have learned throughout their careers.

  • Participants can expect to bring their standard backcountry gear, including avalanche transceivers, shovels, and probes. The clinic emphasizes the importance of being equipped for real-world scenarios, fostering a hands-on learning experience.

Benefits of Taking the Course

Enrolling in the Safe As Avalanche Clinic goes beyond acquiring technical skills. Participants are introduced to a community of like-minded individuals, forming lasting connections. The clinic also serves as a gateway to more extensive training and exploration in the backcountry.

Whether you’re completely new to the backcountry or looking for refresher from previous training, participants leave the clinic with a profound understanding of avalanche safety, risk management, and decision-making in dynamic mountain environments. The lessons learned become a foundation for a lifetime of safe mountain adventures.

Continuing Education - Resources for Avalanche Safety

Future Safe As Clinic Trainings - Dates + Locations:

The Safe As Avalanche Clinic stands as a testament to the power of education in fostering a safer and more connected community of winter enthusiasts. Through the guidance of experienced professionals and the support of a like-minded community, participants embark on a journey that goes beyond the slopes – it's a journey toward a safer, more empowered mountain experience.

Written by Ariel Macrae