This course is not an Avalanche Safety Training (AST-1) course: while the guides will discuss terrain and safe travel practices, the main focus of the course will be on introducing people to the world of backcountry gear, travel, and skiing. Transitions from up the hill to down the hill can eat up a lot of time: imagine trying to un-stick skins from themselves, tighten your boots up, get all of your downhill clothing out of your pack and your uphill layers back into your pack, put on your helmet, and set off (all while your experienced partners are ready to go, eyeing their watches and the powder in frustration). Like anything, organization is key. Our experienced and patient guides will walk you through how to put together a clothing layering system for backcountry skiing; their tips and tricks to keep yourself warm, safe, blister-free, and comfortable; what emergency equipment is absolutely essential to have in your pack; and the basics of companion rescue (how to use your beacon, probe, and shovel).
The evening session will break down the basic trip planning needed for a winter backcountry outing: trip research and resources, weather considerations, hazard evaluation, difficulty assessment, basic backcountry gear systems, emergency gear, and clothing layering systems. The next two days will be very hands-on. While your guide may find time to discuss ski technique, basic terrain management, weather, and hazards, the focus of this course is on getting you outside and helping you make your first backcountry turns.
You should walk away from this course with a good understanding of what is involved in planning a backcountry ski trip, what gear you’ll need to purchase and/or rent, and what your next steps towards becoming independent in the backcountry are.