Thanks to a generous donation by Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety
Workshop (NRASW), Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol (FNBP) has procured and installed four beacon
check stations at popular backcountry access points throughout the area.
Three of the beacon check stations have been installed at backcountry access points off Whitefish
Mountain Resort. One is located at Flower Point, which skiers and snowboarders use to access the
popular Canyon Creek drainage. Other beacon check stations are located at the snowmobile parking
area at the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort and on Taylor Creek Road, an access point for
Hellroaring Peak. Both Canyon Creek and Hellroaring Peak have been the site of avalanches in the past,
including a fatal avalanche in Canyon Creek in 2008.
The fourth beacon check station is located in Essex at the Marion Lake/Essex Creek trailhead, a popular
location with backcountry skiers in the Middlefork drainage.
The beacon check stations, which run on battery power, automatically check to see if a personʼs
avalanche transceiver is on and working. The person wearing a transceiver must stop within range of the
device. A green light indicates the avalanche transceiver is on and working, a red light means it isnʼt.
Signs also remind backcountry users to carry a shovel and probe and provide tips on avalanche safety,
including contact information for avalanche updates from the Flathead Avalanche Center (http://
The cost to purchase and install the beacon checkers is $750 per unit. Funding has been provided by
NRASW. FNBP entered into an agreement with Whitefish Mountain Resort and Flathead National Forest
to monitor and maintain the units.
"Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol owes a nod of gratitude to NRASW for providing funding to purchase
the beacon check stations," said Steve Burglund, who is heading up the project on behalf of FNBP. To
date, NRASW has donated $3,500 to fund FNBP's avalanche education and safety efforts. "And a big
thanks goes out to the members of FNBP, who supplied the labor to instal the beacon checkers."
In addition to the beacon check stations, donations from NRASW will be used to purchase a wireless
beacon park that will be installed at Whitefish Mountain Resort. The wireless beacon park, to be located
at the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort, will be open to the public and free to all users. The intention
of the beacon park is to make it easier for backcountry users to practice with their transceivers. The total
cost of the beacon park is $1,000. The project is slated for next winter.
For more information, contact:
Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol
P.O. Box 433
Whitefish, Montana 59937