While most people see the winter as a time to huddle inside by a fireplace with a cup of tea and read a book… (or perhaps huddle in front of a Canuck’s game with a beer) there are those of us who can’t wait for mounds of snow to cover our local mountains. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, & winter camping are a few of the fun things you can do during our winters. However, getting outdoors during this time of year increases the risks of something going wrong, and the stakes if they do. The days are a lot shorter, the temperature is a lot colder, avalanches can occur in the back country, and the list goes on. All the same general outdoor safety rules apply, including to always carrying the ten essentials, but you also need to take a few extra precautionary steps.
I’m not going to provide a lot of info here, but rather direct you to two great sources for information on avalanche safety:
- Avalanche Canada – Avalanche Canada provides all the bulletins, events, and safety info you will need for public avalanche safety.
- Avalanche First Response Training is an online course that is very useful tool to help learn the basic skills for avalanche rescue.
If you are going to be heading out into any areas that have even a remote chance of avalanche, you should prepare your self by taking the Avalanche Skills Training (AST-1) course. For $200 – $300 and 2 days of your time, it is a worthwhile investment, and is actually quite fun. You can take the course locally with the following places.
Vancouver and Whistler
Powder Guides (www.powderguides.com)
Canada West Mountain School (www.themountainschool.com)
Coast Mountain Guides (www.coastmountainguides.com)
Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau (www.whistlerguides.com)
Grouse Mountain (www.grousemountain.com)
I also highly recommend you watch the documentary A Dozen More Turns.