Avalanche Course Season
We are now two weeks into our AST 1 course season. The first two courses have been a huge success on all accounts. First, the early season snowpack is in great shape for training. We have way more snow this year than we have had in the past couple years’ of early courses. Right now there is close to 1 meter of snow at our regular field training location – Bow Summit. Yamnuska has a policy that if there isn’t enough snow to give you a high quality early season course, we offer all participants a make-up field day. This way no early season keeners lose out. Avalanche skills are way too important to not get the full field curriculum so we make sure everyone walks away with the knowledge they need to safely travel in the backcountry.
Second, is that it appears more resort skiers are getting educated. This is fantastic. Canadian ski resorts, Avalanche Canada and AST training providers like Yamnuska have been troubled by the number of avalanche involvements by out of bounds skiers. Based on the profile of participants on our first few courses, the message is getting through that if you duck the ski boundary line, you better have avalanche skills training. It is highly recommended that if you ski in uncontrolled and unpatrolled parts of a ski hill that you not only have avalanche training, but you carry a transceiver, probe and shovel.
Third, the sport of backcountry skiing is clearly growing. A number of our students have either recently tried backcountry skiing or are planning on trying it very soon. Before you venture out into avalanche terrain we highly recommend you take an AST 1 course and most people appear to be heeding this advice.
Finally, we are seeing a great mix of young people and more experienced skiers invest the time to become educated with avalanche skills. Young skiers and snowboarders who receive avalanche training are more likely to continue to build and develop their knowledge as their skiing and riding evolves. The message also appears to be getting out to people who have spent time in the backcountry but realize their avalanche skills are not at where they need to be. No matter what age you are, its never too late or too early to learn these valuable winter backcountry skills.
We run AST 1 courses in Calgary and Canmore every weekend beginning in November up until March. Our Canmore based AST 1 courses are held at our office at 200-50 Lincoln Park. Our Calgary AST 1 Courses are held at the Training Room at the Calgary MEC Store. The AST 1 Course is an invaluable 2 day investment in your winter backcountry safety skills.
Demand that your ski, board and snowshoe partners have Avalanche Skills Training Courses! If they don’t, find new partners.