BRASS 101 is a simple online webinar that is ideal as an introduction to avalanche safety education or as a pre-season refresher. The program is perfect for any skier or snowboarder, but also specifically addresses competitive skiers and riders who may venture into the backcountry.
The 2015 accident that took the lives of Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack came down to very simple decision-making that led to a tragic outcome. The 90 minutes you spend on a BRASS 101 evening could save your life.
BRASS 101 Program Outline
- Free 90-minute online webinar
- Presented by certified avalanche safety instructors from around America
- Original content designed by BRASS with athletes, coaches, clubs and parents in mind
- Q&A with instructor
- Guest athletes
- Showing of acclaimed BRASS film Off Piste
BRASS 101 Presenters
A past president of the American Avalanche Association, Dale Atkins is a highly-respected snow safety professional with over four decades of experience. His career has included longtime work as a ski patrol, along with forecasting for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and as a technology leader for RECCO. He spent his entire career working in the mountains using his knowledge as a snow scientist and overseeing challenging mountain rescues. His passion for saving lives served as important counsel in the early formation of BRASS, as the families sought a direction to bring education to others.
Now in his fifth season as a BRASS Avalanche educator, Ben Mirkin is an associate professor of Outdoor Education, Leadership, and Tourism at Vermont State University – and an experienced snow safety educator. He is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker and climber, guiding both on rock and ice, as well as snow. Ben has spent his career in outdoor education combining his personal passions with helping others enjoy adventures while mitigating risk. He has been an important educator for BRASS Avalanche to help highlight the importance of snow safety – especially in the eastern USA..
BRASS 101 Behind the Scenes
When tragedy struck in 2015, the families of Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack were changed forever. Amidst their grief, they formed BRASS Avalanche to provide a message of snow safety to millions. Cindy Berlack, mother of Ronnie, has been a catalyst to engage BRASS with the international snow safety community. She was a pioneer of BRASS 101, presenting local clinics at first and now a global online program that remains free. A collegiate ski racer at Middlebury in the alpine and nordic, she remains an active masters racer. She serves as president of BRASS, and continues to be its guiding light, advocating for snow safety.
A Massachusetts native, Lindsay Mann was a passionate ski racer, helping Dartmouth College win an NCAA title in 2007. She took that passion to the big mountains of the west, developing skills as a mountain guide and a snow safety professional. In 2018, as mountain awareness program coordinator for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, she pioneered an innovative program designed to build mountain and snow safety knowledge. Mann was an early advocate for BRASS, presenting safety presentations to U.S. Ski & Snowboard staff and helping BRASS build its educational programs.
A professional communicator his entire career, Tom Kelly served as spokesperson for U.S. Ski & Snowboard for 30+ years, retiring in 2018. He was on the front line for the U.S. Ski Team at the time of the 2015 avalanche, helping tell the story of Bryce and Ronnie in a sensitive way. Now in a private communications counseling practice, Kelly continues to serve BRASS Avalanche, managing its communications and moderating BRASS 101 and other webinars to spread the message on the importance of snow safety. He remains an enthusiastic skier – both lift-served and backcountry – from his home in Park City, Utah.
As a tradition, each BRASS 101 webinar closes with a showing of Off Piste.