1 - 2 people
The Avalanche Skills Training 2 is an advanced course that is an excellent resource for more experienced skiers, snowboarders and climbers. This class is the recreational user’s equivalent to the Canadian Avalanche Association Level 1 professional level course.
Students will focus on creating a decision-making framework that is based on correctly interpreting avalanche bulletins, understanding weather, making fact-based weather and snow observations while in the field, and working together as a team. Finally, you'll learn about risk - how to determine what risk you are exposing yourself to, whether that risk falls within levels acceptable to you, and how to reduce risk through the terrain you select for your routes both on ascent and descent.
If you are a strong intermediate backcountry skier or split-boarder, have at least 2 seasons of backcountry experience where you have traveled in avalanche terrain, and read the avalanche bulletin regularly, then this is the course for you!
Here's your itinerary for the course
Day 1: The course starts with a classroom day in Banff. Be prepared to spend all day inside and have note taking materials handy. Topics cover include:
- Review of avalanche types and sizing
- Mountain snowpack
- Understanding avalanche bulletins
- Decision making
- Terrain evaluation
Day 2: We'll begin by having a pre-trip meeting to review weather and conditions, then go on a field trip in the Rockies (usually on the Icefields Parkway north of Lake Louise). In the evening we will move to Golden where we'll stay the night to ensure an early start for field days in Rogers Pass.
Days 3 and 4: You'll go on ski tours in Rogers Pass, a 45 minute drive from Golden. Each morning we will review the weather and conditions before deciding on a trip objective. You will emphasize using appropriate weather and snowpack observations, and how to use terrain to manage your risk.
Prerequisites and pre-course preparation for Avalanche Skills Training 2
- Read Bruce Tremper's Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain
- All participants need to understand how the faceting and rounding processes work within the snowpack and how surface hoar is formed. If you do not do this you will fall behind in your understanding of the concepts
- Take the online avalanche course at Avalanche Canada
- Have a look at the Mountain Information Network and ACMG Mountain Condition Reports
- Keep track of the avalanche bulletins for Banff and Glacier National Parks
- Look at touring information for Rogers Pass and
Safety in the field
Safety is paramount. There are a variety of ways you can help make this a safe trip for everyone:
- Listen to the instructor's instructions and if you are uncertain of what is expected of you please ask
- Practice with your avalanche transceiver before the trip. Make sure it both transmits and receives at least 30 m away. Understand all its functions and how to use them
- We will be able to communicate with each other and outside agencies with cell phones, radios and my SPOT device
The price includes a 5% GST tax, classroom and field instruction as well as the Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain Field Book.
Need to know
- The equipment list is extensive and well planned out. Your guide will send you all gear requirements upon booking the tour
- This equipment list will have all information regarding clothing, skiing gear, tranceivers, rescue equipment, gear to bring to the hut, etc.
- Make sure any and all equipment brought is in good working order!
Classroom materials needed
- Notepad, pen/pencil
- Laptop/mobile device (optional)
- Lunch, water, snacks
- Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper
- Maps for the Wapta/Bow Summit area and Rogers Pass
There are many hotels and hostels to stay at in both the Banff/Canmore/Lake Louise area as well as Golden.
- Alpine Club of Canada Clubhouse (Canmore)
- HI-Banff Alpine Centre (hostel)
- YWCA (Banff)
- Same Sun Hostel (Banff)
- HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre (hostel)
- Kicking Horse River Lodge (Golden). The Lodge may give you a discount if you tell them you are taking an avalanche course