ISSW February News Letter

ISSW 2020: Abstract Submissions Wanted!

The abstract submission page went live recently and will remain open until April 27, the deadline for submitting abstracts. That means you’ve got some time to get your presentation ideas together, but you should get going on it soon. The conference is especially excited to hear from front-line workers, providing a great venue for you to share your experience and ideas with avalanche professionals from around the world.

If you have never, or rarely, presented in public before, the ISSW is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons, with a friendly audience very interested in what you have to say. This page explains the process of submitting an abstract. And feel free to email us if you’re looking for assistance or have questions.

When submitting an abstract, you’ll be asked to select from the following list of themes that best represents your topic:

  • Avalanche Dynamics
  • Avalanche Education
  • Avalanche Forecasting
  • Avalanche Formation and Failure
  • Avalanche Incidents and Case Studies
  • Avalanche Rescue
  • Avalanche Risk Communication
  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Human Behaviours and Decision Making
  • Instrumentation and Remote Sensing
  • Planning and Engineering Solutions
  • Snow and Snowpack Properties
  • Terrain Management

So get those thinking caps on and get working on an abstract! It’s an experience that is well worth the effort. Here are the key dates you won’t want to miss:

  • April 27 – abstract submission deadline
  • June 5 – review results released
  • June 26 – presenting authors must be registered
  • August 24 – full papers due
  • Oct 4 – 9 – ISSW 2020, Fernie, BC

ISSW 2020

The International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) is a gathering for people who love snow. This week-long conference is held every two years in a location that alternates between the US, Canada, and Europe. The next ISSW will be held in Fernie, BC, October 4 – 9, 2020, which means it’s a great opportunity for those of us in western Canada who work—and play—in the snow to attend.

Participating in an ISSW is always a great experience, both intellectually and socially. Check out and keep an eye on that site over the winter as more events and opportunities are posted. If you’ve attended an ISSSW before, you’ll know what a great experience it is. And if you’ve never attended, Fernie 2020 is going to be a great place to start. Hope to see you there!

Beautiful Fernie BC – Photo Credit – Matt Kuhn

Insurance for your Course fee now available !

Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance for CSGI Courses

We understand that occasionally events occur that prevent you from completing your CSGI course.  You can’t predict a road closure, flight schedule change, sickness of a family member or your own injury. 

To avoid any financial hardship an unexpected cancellation or interruption could cause, we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation/Interruption to protect your CSGI Course investment.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption costs about 5% or 6% of your fees and it’s worth the peace of mind! An example of premium costs is outlined below.

You can obtain further information or get a quote for your course here : Trip Cancellation Insurance Link

You can also contact Lifestyle Financial  directly if you have questions about the coverage.    
Maria Delaney 250 542 8577

CSGI Course Cost Trip Cancellation Sum Insured Trip Cancellation Premium
$995 $1,000 $71
$1,325 $1,500 $92
$2,335 $2,500 $136
$2,650 $3,000 $156


Maria Delaney GBA
200A- 2928-29th Street  Vernon BC V1T 5A6
Ph. 250-542-8577   Mobile  250-308-4688


We can assist with TRAVEL INSURANCE. Visit our website or give us a call for a quote

The First Lisa Korthals Memorial Bursary Award has been decided !

The CSGA and the LKMB Committee is pleased to announce the first recipient of the Lisa Korthals Memorial Bursary.

The recipient for the 2018-2019 season is presented to Jessica Roy.

Jessica is a guide at Baldface Lodge in Nelson BC. She successfully completed her CSGI Level 2 certification in 2018 and is a current CSGA Member in good standing. More recently, she completed the ski touring module that was offered this Spring at Mt. Carlyle Lodge.

Jessica demonstrates a passion for the mountains which she happily shares with her group. In addition to her guiding skills, her hard skills were demonstrated at an above standard level, having the fastest transceiver and rope rescue times on the 2018 level 2 CSGI course.

In the Spirit of Lisa, the bursary committee looks forward to watching her grow as a guide in the mountains and mentor the women who come behind her.

We encourage all women involved in the CSGI stream of courses to apply for the bursary. More information can be found at

Congratulations Jessica !

Wilderness Ski Guiding – Work and Fatigue Survey

Your input is important !

Please take 20 minutes to tell us about your work experience and opinions on work and fatigue with the Wilderness Ski Guiding industry.  By participating in the survey, you have the option to be entered into a draw for one of two $50 Visa gift cards.

This survey has been designed by Optimal FiT Inc. in collaboration with Ian Tomm, sector consultant, and the support of HeliCat Canada and numerous other sector trade associations.  It considers recognized best practices for managing workplace fatigue and is open to all workers in the sector. Completed surveys will be stored and analyzed by Optimal FiT Inc. and discrete data destroyed after the project is completed.

This survey is a first step in understanding fatigue in this unique and internationally recognized sector.  By taking this survey, you will help this project identify the extent that fatigue may impact performance and safety.  Results will be used to focus further discussions and identify actions and next steps to improve.  

This project is funded in part by WorkSafeBC’s Small Initiative Funding and is supported by:

  • Association of Canadian Mountain Guides 
  • Backcountry Lodges of BC Association 
  • Canadian Avalanche Association 
  • Canadian Ski Guide Association 
  • HeliCat Canada Association   

Should you have any questions or concerns about the purpose of this survey or how the data will be used, please do not hesitate to contact:

Jason Kumagai
Principal Human Factors and Fatigue Specialist, Optimal FiT Inc.

Here is the link to the survey:

This survey will remain open until August 31st, 2019.    


Ian Tomm & Jason Kumagai

Important info regarding Changes to the CAA Level 2 Operations Certification

Beginning in winter 2020-21, the Avalanche Operations
Level 2 program assumes a new configuration. Instead of
the current three module system, we move toward two
components: Avalanche Operations Level 2 and Avalanche
Operations Level 2 Assessment.
The first component, named Avalanche Operations Level
2, is a combination of the current modules 1 and 2. The
second component, named Avalanche Operations Level 2
Assessment, is the same as the current module 3 where
students’ skills and competency, in both technical knowledge
and practical application of Level 2 concepts, are evaluated
(see Fig. 1 below)
Given the changes, there will be benefits, challenges and
implications for current students.

The driver behind the Level 1 and Level 2 curriculum
development and course delivery modification is the
Competency Aligned Avalanche Risk Management Training
(CAARAT) project. For the past three years, we have worked
to align curriculum to the competency profiles. The project
is also an opportunity to improve, revise, update, and revisit
courses that normally only see small scale changes on an
annual basis.

The idea of combining Modules 1 and 2 was proposed by
a Level 2 working group during a CAARAT project meeting
in June 2018. This group is composed of CAARAT project
members, representatives from the industry, CAA students,
ADAPT project members, and Industry Training Program
instructors. The proposed idea was then approved by the
CAA’s education committee later that summer.
As with any change, there are benefits and costs as well
as implications for current students. Below are some of
the benefits and costs that were identified by the Level 2
working group.

• More fluid learning progression from concepts to
• Better continuity and opportunity for instructors to
provide feedback
• A mix of indoor and outdoor activities to break up
classroom time
• Integration of theory with practice
• Reduced time spent reviewing prior learnings
• Less expensive for students (fewer sessions, less travel)
• Students must attend a 7 to 8-day course during the winter
• Shifts between field and classroom days (i.e. continuity of
weather and snowpack tracking)
• Enrollment per course limited to 18 students (vs. 30-36 on
current Module 1)
Ultimately, it is recognized that more time off during
the winter months comes at a cost to both students and
employers. However, it was deemed that the benefits
outweigh these costs.

The Avalanche Operations Level 2 program began in the late
70’s and was originally delivered as an 8-day course which
included several assessments. In 2002 the CAA implemented
a significant change in the Level 2 program where it
went from being an all-in-one course to three modules.
The outcomes of the three-module course delivery were
excellent: a more comprehensive curriculum, additional time
for feedback and coaching in a non-evaluative environment,
interactive student exercises, and an opportunity for career
professional development.
Over time, it became evident to Level 2 instructors that
there is a disconnect between the Module 1 classroom
concepts and actual application of that learning during the
field-based Module 2 (for example linking Module 1 lessons on
situational awareness to field work objectives on the Module
2). The time between Modules 1 and 2, at least 1 month and up
to a year, made it difficult for students to retain key learnings.
Changes to the Avalanche Operations Level 2 training are
coming into effect to create an environment that better
supports learning, application, and retention.


At this point, we will be running Avalanche Operations
Level 2 courses as per usual for winter 2019/20. However,
there is a caveat. Newly approved applicants must complete
both Modules 1 and 2 during the 2019-20 season. If these
applicants are unable to complete both modules in the 2019-
20 season, they must defer registration until the following
Level 2 students who are in the program already (e.g.
they’ve taken a Module 1 or 2 this winter 2018/19) must
complete the remainder of their modules next season
In brief:
• Level 2 students who have taken a Module 1 or 2 this
winter (2018/19) must complete the remainder of their
modules next season (2019/20)
• Newly approved applicants (2019/20) must complete both
Modules 1 and 2 during the 2019-20 season. Those unable
to complete both modules in the 2019-20 season must defer
registration until the following winter

The Avalanche Operations Level 2 program has stood the test
of time. This is the first large-scale change in 17 years and,
although there are challenges associated with this change,
we believe that these are outweighed by the benefits of
increased course quality and educational experience.
We’re excited to see the Level 2 outcomes of the CAARAT
project come to fruition in winter 2020/21. In the meantime,
project team members are working hard behind the scenes to
revise, update, and improve upon existing curriculum.
If you have any questions, please contact Emily Grady,
Industry Training Program Manager.
Each year the CAA’s Industry Training Program modifies its courses
based on new research, student & instructor feedback, and current
best practices. At times, these modifications are more substantial
and involve external funding. For example, over the past two years
an ongoing project is working to align the Avalanche Operations
Level 1 course curriculum1 with the CAA’s competency profiles.

Ski Cutting Research Survey

Hello CSGA Members,  

See below to participate on a Research Survey about Ski Cutting, if you have a few minutes to contribute it would be much appreciated.

If you have anything you would like to share please send an email to:  

Hope your are all enjoying the Spring so far !
CSGA Administration

Ski Cutting: A Research Survey
Ski cutting is a common practice for avalanche practitioners to test for unstable snow and to mitigate avalanche risk. It is also one that puts the practitioner in close proximity to avalanche hazard. For all its prevalence, ski cutting has rarely been the subject of academic study.

Bruce Jamieson and his fellow researchers have created a survey to gather information about North American practitioner experiences with ski cutting. The CAA encourages you to take the survey if applicable to you. We look forward to sharing this information with members when the survey analysis is complete.

Click here to participate: GO TO SURVEY


Hope everyone had a great season. It’s that time of year again.

The CSGA Annual General Meeting will be held in Penticton BC, Wednesday, May 8 at 1:30 pm at the Sandman Hotel.

Agenda will be posted shortly ~