Whether you are getting ready for your first winter of backcountry skiing and riding or you’ve been at it for years, the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) Level 1 or 2 course – developed by Avalanche Canada – is the perfect opportunity to learn about (or brush up on) safe backcountry travel techniques, route finding, slope assessment and companion rescue. Join us for a combination of classroom learning and snowcat assisted ski touring.
I have been thrilled with the opportunity to teach avalanche courses to hundreds of people for the past 28 years. I’ve also been really lucky to have hooked up with Big Red Cats for the past 14 years for all Rossland based courses. Big Red has gone from a start up snowcat skiing company 14 years ago, to now running up to 5 snowcats each day, making it the largest snowcat operation in the world. For our December AST1 courses, weather depending, we get a snowcat ride up into the Big Red tenure, enabling us to spend more time teaching/learning and less time walking to get to the good terrain. When I’m not teaching AST, you’ll often find me guiding with Big Red Cats. I really enjoy working with their team and skiing their fun terrain.
In addition to Rossland based AST, I also teach the AST 2 program during week long backcountry lodge trips. I’ll admit, the reason I do this is that those lodge weeks are almost always the best weeks of my winter. I find that the students get so much learning out of these trips. We’re so lucky to be situated in the midst of these lodges, which provide the ultimate experience for backcountry travellers.
This year, we’ll be adding more mindfulness training to our courses. Current research about the brain is showing that the better we learn to regulate our bodies before making important decisions, the better our decisions will be. Although we’ve known that human factors contribute to avalanche accidents, we’ve been scratching our heads for many years, how to teach human factors so that avalanche students will be less prone to making mistakes. Perhaps this new knowledge about the psychology of the brain will help us when playing the avalanche game.
Learn about our courses for 2018/2019 and beyond here.
We donate 3% of all revenue from AST courses to climate change organizations that are working to try to help sustain our winter snow. Learn more here.