PIC BY TERO REPO/ CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: XAVIER DE LE RUE CHASING THE SNOW FILLED MOUNTAIN OF ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND) - Forget your average weekend in the Alps - these daredevil skiers travel to the world's most vertical slopes for their STEEP thrills. Top skiers such as Jeremy Jones from Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA and Xavier De Le Rue from Bayonne, France, carefully edge their way down the most stomach-churning drops on the planet. Too dangerous for every day slope fans, the intrepid explorers’ battle through thick snow covering rocks which can cause fatal falls and must always be wary at the chance of an avalanche. The stunning snaps have been released by award-winning adventure photographer Tero Repo, who has travelled to all corners of the globe from Antarctica to Greenland, Alaska, South America and even Japan to capture his images. SEE CATERS COPY.

The Avalanche Fund, formerly the American Avalanche Advisory Fund, has reorganized to best ensure access to winter backcountry avalanche forecast information. The first meeting will be Saturday February 1, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City.

Peter Metcalf, CEO of Black Diamond and Bruce Greenstein, President of the Friends of the Northwest Avalanche Center will co-chair the Board of Directors. The mission of the Avalanche Fund (AF) is to provide support and pursue stable funding for backcountry avalanche centers. The AF will execute its mission through the creation, encouragement and support of regional Friends of Avalanche Center Groups; serving as a national voice on avalanche issues; and providing advocacy at the state and federal level.

The AF Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of the backcountry ski and snowboard community, ski area industry, avalanche professionals, guides, and outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers. Specifically Patagonia, Burton, Black Diamond, the American Mountain Guides Association, Backcountry Access, REI, Backbone Media and the Outdoor Industry Association have been invited to serve on the board.

“The Avalanche Fund will address the main problem faced by the regional forecast centers: that of inadequate funding,” explains co-chair, Bruce Greenstein. “ To best achieve this we will initially focus on supporting the Friends Groups for regional centers and begin the process of gaining support with decision makers at the state and federal level.”

The goal of the Avalanche Fund is to increase public support and funding to meet the increased demand created by recreational users going into the winter backcountry. The AF mission is to encourage and support regional Friends of Avalanche Center Groups; serve as a national voice on avalanche issues; provide advocacy at the state and federal level and ensure public access to forecast information. For more information contact Bruce Greenstein at brucegreenstein@hotmail.com or 206-484-1360. For more information on regional avalanche centers visit www.avalanche.org.


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