Dean Cummings Is The 2012 Avalaunch Educator Of The Year

Dean Cummings Is The 2012 Avalaunch Educator Of The Year

Backcountry badass, careful forecaster and entrepreneur Dean Cummings snagged his second consecutive Ambassador of the Year award at the 2013 Winter Market Awards in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Retailer convention in January. Delivering daily talks on backcountry safety, the nature of his business (H2O guides out of Valdez, AK) and supporting the education of fellow backcountry enthusiasts. Dean was raised in the outdoors, bagging peaks from his youth and evolving into his time helping at the Santa Fe Mountain center where he honed backcountry safety skills and began to establish himself as a career alpinist. When his work brought him to Alaska, he began recognizing a severe need for outdoor education concerning travel in the states glaciated environments. This need and Dean’s unique ability to understand and communicate the intricacies of backcountry safety, concepts and education make him an ideal representative and ambassador for mountain culture.

At the On Snow demo at Seclusion resort, Dean threw down a hotly competitive time at the transceiver park, benchmarking backcountry prizes for the challenger that beat it. Flexing some skills for participants to challenge is an opportunity to test the mettle of safety skills Dean has built into his career central to practical application. Pragmatism in skill is always at the forefront of Dean’s skiing theory; he garnered the nickname “Commander” in his safety practices across his career. Involvement in rescues and backcountry organizations across the globe in locations such as Chamonix and Valdez, AK helped Dean develop his own brand of safety education he calls Steep Life Protocols (SLP). The mission of SLP is to care for the lifestyle and knowledge of backcountry culture while understanding the environment that makes it all possible. The idea is to bring all the factors that contribute to a dangerous backcountry scenario to light: “The buildup of small factors contributing to all dangerous backcountry situations need to be seen comprehensively. From picking the day’s route, understanding group dynamics and skills, technological prowess, reacting to weather and the experiences that lead to any choice available, the minute details can make the difference between safe and sloppy practice or in some cases, safety or danger.”

SLP is entering its third year with a larger audience, growth Dean wants to continue and improve as his ground level forecasting and responsible practices continue to save lives throughout his community. Innumerable first descents, years of backcountry travel combine with experience on snow machines, wildlife avoidance and outdoor family lineage make Dean’s position as the Avalaunch Educator of the Year a perfect match. Another notch of notoriety in his belt, Dean Cummings will continue working for the safety-education of backcountry enthusiasts throughout the mountainous regions so complex, compelling, and oftentimes perilous.

TBD Vail, CO

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Nov 21-23 Bozeman, MT

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Jan 22-25 Salt Lake City, UT

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Apr 18-19 Cooke City, MT

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