The course was full, with 12 participants and 2 instructors.
La Nina rang true this spring and kept the weather relatively cool and the snow dry on the shady aspects for most of the course. The students occupied 2 full days of mechanized ski guiding during some pretty fabulous ski conditions. Everyone had a chance to lead and second at least one ski run. There was also snow cat assisted ski touring and drop offs for full days in the mountains for other training exercises.
There were 2 crevasse / rope rescue practice days which were scheduled into the course. One was held on a relatively short, near vertical wall over top of a road (Cornice Corner) which provided an excellent training area with easy access. The other was in a large wind scoop on an alpine ridge which had some overhangs and a longer rescue distance. Students had plenty of opportunity to practice their skills at the lodge where there were two anchored ropes for climbing and ascending as well as areas for setting up raise systems.
Each day in the field, teams of 2 would have a chance to practice an avalanche rescue scenario. Everyone had a chance to lead and assist at least one rescue. There was ongoing transceiver practice, both within the scenarios and in 30 by 30 metre areas (just like the exam).
The level 1 is designed to be a learning course, and that is exactly what happened this year. Approximately ½ of the students are working in the industry and tuning their skills to move forward in their careers. The others are trying to break into the industry. The learning that occurred was remarkable. With the exception of three participants who will have to re-test their rope rescue skills, everybody passed the course.
Much thanks go out to Paul and Megan Osak of Selkirk Snowcat Skiing, who’s tenure makes an exceptional venue for the level 1 course.
Kevin Marr & Josh Slootweg