Backcountry education, get some!

Tarin O’Donnell

This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to catch one of the last clinics of the season put on by SAFE AS Clinics, a women’s tailored avalanche awareness and snow safety clinic put together by a group of professional women skiers and guides. They welcome skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels. The instructors consist of a group of women with years of experience of all different levels. I myself have now done 3 avalanche courses, one of which was an AIARE level 1 course, and I most certainly feel I will take many more. Even these women who have been instructing for years say they are still constantly learning and stress the importance of continuing education, and practicing often with your backcountry partners. Learning how to use your equipment is simply not enough, you must practice and practice often. To have to use our equipment in a real-life scenario is a situation I would hope none of us would ever have to encounter. But we all know every time we go out, there is a chance, so we must be prepared. If you have a backcountry buddy, I encourage you take a course together! This will give you even more confidence in each other and give you a chance to work together in these scenarios. If you don’t have a buddy, don’t let that be a reason to stop you! These courses give you the chance to meet potential partners and regardless it is important that you, yourself, feel comfortable traveling in the backcountry. Even if you aren’t quite ready to get into full backcountry travel, it never hurts to take an awareness course. Accidents can happen just outside the ski resorts, what some refer to as sidecountry, as well as in bounds. I’ve made a short list of resources so everyone can hopefully first find what kind of class may suit their learning desires and go from there to find a course offered near you! Travel safe & have fun!!

Posted by Tarin O'Donnell on 12/19/16

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