Avalanche Operations: Level 2 Applications

Avalanche Operations Level 2 applications

Over the past 3 years, the CAA has seen a growing demand for the Avalanche Operations Level 2 program. In order to better accommodate the demand, we highly recommend that students submit their Level 2 application by no later than April 30, 2018. Any questions regarding the application process can be sent to Katherine Dalman. Also note that priority registration is given to those candidates who are already enrolled in the Level 2 program. Level 2 Modules 1-3 course dates for the 2018-19 season will be posted in the last two weeks of May 2018, with registration opening mid-June.

Thank you

Katherine Dalman – Industry Training Program Coordinator
Canadian Avalanche Association  |  PO Box 2759  |  110 Mackenzie Ave.  |  Revelstoke, BC Canada | V0E 2S0
Phone: 250.837.2435 ext.223 | www.avalancheassociation.ca

Looking for Guides ?

Are you still trying to find certified guides to fill dates ?

Let us know and we will post it on our website under the resources tab for everyone to see.

If needed we can send out an email blast to all our members (with up to date email addresses) to get you as much interest as possible.

Wishing you all a fun & safe season !


CSGI Running a Second Spring Course

BREAKING NEWS – Update: This course is now full – Thank you

The CSGI will be running TWO SPRING Level 1 courses this season !

Due to a higher than normal amount of applicants for our Level 1 Spring program, we are very happy to announce we will be running a second Spring Level 1 course in collaboration with Kingfisher Heli Skiing and Keefer Lake Lodge. Dates are the same, April 3 – 13th.

This course is almost full with the waiting list applicants from the Meadow Creek location.

WE ONLY HAVE 4 SEATS LEFT ! If you are interested in attending get your application in ASAP.
*Seats are on a first come first serve basis (all prerequisite certifications required)

CSGA username and password needs to be set up to fill an application. Click here to get started.


CSGA Annual General Meeting


May 3rd 2017 1:00 pm –  Sandman Hotel Penticton BC

Attendance: Board of Directors, Secretary & Members of the CSGA in good standing,

Board of Directors:

Bob Sayer                            President

Jason Remple                    Vice-President

Mo Rasiah                           Director

Mike Hainault                   Director

Kieren Gaul                        Director

Don Schwartz                    Director

Mike Wiegele                    Past President (regrets)

Hunter Fitzgerald            Secretary (non-voting)

Welcome from the President – Bob Sayer

Bob Welcomed all Members, Operators & all guests to the meeting.

-all courses were full this season as there is a continued demand from Industry for more qualified Guides.

  1. Adopt minutes of last meeting – Bob Sayer

Minutes for last AGM adopted.

  1. Report from Administration – Bob Sayer

Carrie can now receive inquiries though her cell, which should improve response to member & student inquiries. In the summer. Carrie works one day per week & calls pass to her cell.

We now have 113 members & 13 Associate members

  1. Secretary’s Report – Hunter Fitzgerald

See report attached – Click Here: CSGA-AGM-Sec Report May 3rd 2017

  1. Technical Committee Report – Mike Hainault

Biggest change= Level 3 divided into 2- 1) instruction course 2) exam. Not as successful pass rate & now will review with Bob Sayer,

Bill Mark & Crosby Johnson to determine best way forward. It became evident that a course is needed before the exam. We wish to try and maintain as many candidates as possible & to minimize financial burden at same time.

Asked for feedback as we wish more students to graduate as possible so course before good idea. Seems bit of disconnect between higher experience needed & urgency to get Level 3 exam done. That is why course before is most valuable. General consensus is to have pre-Course as properly trained & examined Level 3 guides needed as lead guides right now by Industry.

Bob Sayer commented that many guides took several years guiding before taking Level 3 exam & therefore pre-course essential to give students knowledge of areas they need to practice on before doing exam.

Re-current training to be done in Blue River, Kootney & on Coast.

MW 5 Step checklist                                      Elias Ortner

Postponed as Elias had to go to another session which conflicted with AGM meeting time.

  1. Membership Report – Bob Sayer

Now have 113 paid up members

  1. HeliCat Canada Report – Bob Sayer

Attended Heli Cat meeting which very informative. There was a general invitation to all CSGA Guides to attend as very educational.

  1. IKAR report – Bob Sayer+ Iceland symposium – Elias OrtnerMeeting held on Bulgaria. IKAR now 600-700 members. Hands on type meeting.New mountain knowledge Database consisting of all mountain rescue information & researchers data base to international standards. CSGA could pay a fee to run Database to obtain worldwide changes (note: Dr. Dave has pics available).

    1st day was hands on training & resulted in all rescuers being killed which real eye-opener. Point of day never treat patients on a dangerous place.

    Hypothermia training excellent with new micro climate system being utilized.

    Dr. Dave commented that “best allocation of resources” system over whelming.

    This year conference will be in Andorra – Bob Sayer, Dr. Dave Watson & Bill Mark will be attending- Oct 16-19, 2017. Cost approx. Euros 500.

  2. Canadian Society of Mountain Medicine – Dr Dave WatsonLions Gate Mountain Medicine 2 week course in Mountains.With new Docs now at 20.

    Hypothermia presentation of new plastic card system, a check list of best practices.

    Bata concept on in Europe and can be seen on IKAR website.

    Suggest read paper from Journal of England. Longest was thought to be 6hrs now 8 hrs. Found and on an avalanche as long as 43 hours. Crevasse 27yr old = 8 days & 70 yr. old 6 days.

    Suggest CSGA prepare similar check list on what to do.

    Bob Sayer commented on WorkSafeBC has details & CSGA could mine for Guide items. Ian Tomm commented he has Data on this.


A – Risk Management – Insurance report               Hunter Fitzgerald

RM & Insurances presentation on;

  1. Mountain Safety, incl. Waiver Administration
  • Tenure issues
  • Fleet Risk Safety.
  • Premises incl. Liquor Liability
  • Special events
  • Where are you in your Insurer’s rating of “Best in Class”
  1. Reviewed the need to chart “Risk Lists”. We did a sample of a Risk List for a Snowcat operation & discussed the necessity to rate your area & monitor it continuously.
  2. Reviewed observations of Fort Mac fire & how critical it was to follow “Fire Smart Manual” for all your resorts.
  3. Reviewed some details on a new Helmet (ProNeckTor) under research.

Helicopter Safety                                            Heath Coleman

Summarized same key points recently presented to HeliCat meeting;

-emergency response – coordinate with Heli Company & Helicopter company

-helipad at hospital- may violate landing at hospital

-be familiar with BC emergency hospital regulations & guidelines for landing at hospital

-purchase lots of seat belt cutters & keep on site.

-SAOP (Safety Operating procedures) check best practices

-Air Bags-be careful pre-mature release- put into Heli briefing

-cannot wear in Helicopter

-check how to remove air on release.

-pre-season training include best practices for air bag use.

-Crew Response management- test team work in cockpit.

-discuss physocoligy

-Professionalism discussed at HeliCat –Heli-skiing fun risky sport.

-Tipping pilot-do not let it influence pilot.

-Share close calls –debrief on guides meeting & keep teaching to new pilots/guides.

-safety culture- do what you preach

-5 recent accidents- some compliancy-all avoidable

-Lessons-everyone be extremely alert at landings.

B – Legal report                                                 Hunter Fitzgerald

Reviewed some finding from 2017 CWSAA Safety Committee-Legal update by Robert Kennedy.

1.Brun v. Whistler – release successful

2.Aaron Quilchine – 1st online release successful

  1. Campbell v. county of Bruce Ontario-release defeated by special Ontario consumer protection act argument
  2. Waiver still good defense but watching Ontario development as BC consumer protection act similar & should be amended for ski resort activities.
  3. Ski Bindings-AT boots will not work in normal bindings and release would-be voided so use special bindings for AT boots. Also watch 10 day notice by binding manufacturers
  4. Host liquor Liability – Case study of Pub in Ont where Pub still held partially responsible for incident after patron when came home then drove buddy home & had an accident.

7.Jameson v. Whistler – same BC Practices act at Ont.


C – Wild Life                                                       Jordon Stiefvater

Reviewed guidelines –intent-leave animals alone.

-Ariel –stay distance & flight paths -500 meter distance

-Goats- 1,500 meter from goat habitat shown on goat range mapping.

-Bob Sayer-a lot of science on goats & they are not a threatened animal.

-Wolverine –scientists trying to get funding on research

Cariboo-endangered species – many closures for snowmobile use.

-no encounter for 300 meters-record happenings

-some closed areas

-affect all new Heli ski tenures

Special management=what the heli-skiing industry is doing

-min encounter

-no closer than 500 meters

-MOU-area map habitat

-2 hrs. of staff training

-info management systems

-operations practice

D – Extended medical – Insurance package           Mike Hainault

(Geoff Staight could not make meeting)

AD&D group; policy available (similar to ACMG coverage)

-min of 40 participants

-$25,000 Life

-Premium=$105 annual (covers outside of work as well)

-option for $100,000 at $400 annual

-MH to email members with motion for the $105 plan and see what interest

E – Potential sponsorship agreement w/ MEC Or True Outdoors for member discounts on gear

Mike Hainault

MEC plan available.

F Continued professional development training fall

Session Date selection Mike Hainault

Fall Training-Nov 18-Nov 25 (one in Kootneys)

Recurrent in Blue River – Sept 2017

Fees up 10-12% next year.

-Tech News- updated Manual-Snowcat section-need chapter

-Heath-good idea for Heli section

Manual will not be printed only on line eManual.

OTHER BUSINESS Election of Officers– We need to elect 2 board members each year.

K.Gual to step down

New members;

-Dr. Dave Watson

-Chris Simm

Bob asked 3 times = no further nominations

Next meeting: May 2nd 2018

Adjournment: 4pm May 3rd 2017

CC: 1. To Board Members

  1. To membership of CSGA

Level 1 Meadow Creek BC April 2017


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

Course Instructors

April 2017

Level 3 2017

Spring 2017 was an interesting time for the CSGI, we unveiled the NEW L3 course format. The new format is comprised of two separate and distinct components, the course and the assessment, each is five days in duration. The “course” component is designed to help teach aspiring L3 candidates the requisite skills necessary to guide without supervision in the mechanized ski industry. The “assessment” component is designed to evaluate the guiding skills necessary to guide without supervision in the mechanized ski industry. Each component is taken separately, first the course, then the assessment. This new format allows students to gain experience, skill, and better understand the standard required to succeed during the assessment. This year we had seven participants take part in the new program, two of which were invited to move onto the assessment portion.

The GOAL of the new format is to not only better prepare candidates for evaluations, but to better mentor existing guides as they move through the CSGI progression taking on greater responsibility. The curriculum has been tailored to better match the industry realities of the tasks undertaken by guides each and every day. We aim to train the candidates to the highest standards, and provide tangible and practical situations for better learning.

Given the weather this spring the effort brought forward by the candidates was commendable. They took every task, project, and scenario extremely seriously. Skill acquisition was admirable, and all participants should be very proud of the achievements they attained. Many of those participants will be ready in the future to attend the assessment portion of the new program.

It goes without saying that these programs would not be possible without the cooperation and the dedication of certain individuals. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our host Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, Yellowhead Helicopters and our pilot Steve Tosh, my co-course director Bill Mark, our trusty observer Terry Makos, and of course all our participants who were willing to take a chance on this new curriculum format.

We look forward to seeing more L3 candidates in the future.


Mike Hainault

CSGI, course coordinator


Hi Everyone !

A reminder that the Canadian Ski Guide Association AGM will be held in Penticton BC on May 3, 2017 @ 1:00pm  at The Sandman Hotel.

For a preview of the adgenda please click here.


Hope you all had or are still having a great season ! Safe travels this summer.

HeliCat Canada AGM Reminder

Just another friendly reminder that the HeliCat meetings are on May 1 in Penticton again this year.  If you work in the sector you may find the days activities of interest to you, as well as being good CPD.


You’ll see some more info coming out via our newsletters and on social media in the next few weeks but here are the highlights;

  • Bill Yearwood from the Transportation Safety Board – Talking about aviation safety in our sector (heliskiing and SAR)
  • Doug Strachan from West Coast Helicopters talking about Safety Management Systems and how aviation SMS can (better) integrate with operational risk management systems in the helicat sector.
  • Discussion on proposed new Transport Canada regulations that may impact heliskiing starting in 2018.
  • A provincial executive and consulting biologist will also be presenting on our sectors impacts on wildlife and the changing landscape for wildlife policy in BC – particularly around Goat, Caribou and species at risk.

We are going to have 2 panel discussions – one on aviation safety and another one on wildlife and adaptive management in the HeliCat/Guiding sector.  Should be interesting.


Hope to see you there!

Ian Tomm
Executive Director
HeliCat Canada Association
p: 250-837-5770

CSGI Level 2 – Blue River BC 2016

CSGI Level 2 Course Report:


The course was full with 9 students and 2 instructors:

Warm conditions kept Instructors and students on their toes, with full spring conditions for most of the course.  Despite these conditions Students were able to spend 1 full day and 2 half days mechanized Skiing, one in-conjunction with the L3 course, as well as Heli assisted Ski touring on other days.

2 crevasse/rope rescue practice days occurred on the Diamond Head Ridge, and the exam occurred on the Grizzly Hut upper cliffs. After the first and second field practice days  Students practiced deficiencies in the Guides Haus  after hours.

2 nights were spent out with students building and sleeping in improvised shelters.  Normally the Monashee Chalet in Fin Creek is used but due to very warm conditions the venue was changed to the Grizzly hut up the Mud valley was used.

Other locations used were Thunder Lakes, Smoke Creek and Froth Creek and Taran Lake area.

Bill Mark

April 2016


Summer Glacier Skills Camp

The CSGI will be running another SGSC in Blue River BC again this September.  This is a skills development course for students engaged in the CSGI programs.  The course will include glacier travel, use of crampons and ice axe while travelling on snow and ice, rope techniques, protection, rescue techniques, navigation, route selection, trip preparation and mountaineering ethics.

Dates are Sunday September 10th – Saturday September 16th, 2017

This course requires participants to be in the mountains for a 5 day period.

There are accommodations in town at the MWHS Resort available for the first and last night.

Each student is to provide their own (camp/dehydrated) meals  for a 5 day duration in the mountains.

Summer Glacier Skills Camp

Create a CSGA online account to register for courses