Utah Avalanche Center shifts Backcountry Benefit, its largest fundraiser, online | ParkRecord.com

Utah Avalanche Center shifts Backcountry Benefit, its largest fundraiser, online

The 27th annual Utah Avalanche Center Backcountry Benefit will be held virtually this year, with organizers hoping supporters will hold their own COVID-safe mini-gatherings Thursday night. The center expects record numbers of backcountry users this year as the pandemic diverts skiers and snowboarders from resorts.
Courtesy of the Utah Avalanche Center

If you go

What: 27th annual Utah Avalanche Center Backcountry Benefit

Where: Held remotely in supporters’ homes

When: 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10

Cost: $20

Info: 2020uacparty.givesmart.com

Normally, the Utah Avalanche Center’s largest fundraiser is a big party with live music, food, drinks and a silent auction. But this year, organizers have been forced to adapt to the times and are trying to entice supporters to hold their own mini-parties instead.

Chad Brackelsberg, the executive director of the Utah Avalanche Center, explained that the $20 tickets for this year’s Backcountry Benefit come with access to a livestream featuring music and ski videos, talks from avalanche forecasters and short presentations.

The fundraiser, which includes an extensive silent auction, will be held from 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10. Information and tickets are available at 2020uacparty.givesmart.com.

The Utah Avalanche Center provides avalanche resources including education and forecasts, which Brackelsberg said will be key this season.

“We feel it’s more important this year than ever with COVID-19 and the resorts running in various forms of capacity, (we’ll have the) largest amount of backcountry users that Utah has ever seen and a lot of new users,” he said.

The center will post much of its educational content online this year in an effort to reach more people, Brackelsberg said. This fundraiser is key to supporting that effort and accounts for more than 10% of the center’s annual revenue, he added.

So organizers hope supporters will invite their own “quaranteams” to come over for a house party Thursday in the spirit of the annual Backcountry Benefit, now in its 27th year.

“We appreciate the community’s support this year because it is more important than ever in light of difficult financial times of nonprofits, as well as a huge increase of backcountry use that we’re planning for,” Brackelsberg said.

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