Avy Class – Day 1

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 17, 2010      

Just finished my first day of my level 2 avalanche course, put on by Crested Butte Mountain Guides. It was a terrific first day, and I learned quite a bit. The instructors, Jayson and Mike, seemed super knowledgeable, and the class is nice and small, with a bunch of people who seem motivated to learn more about avalanche safety for backcountry skiing and other mountain sports. Today we spent most of the day in the classroom, tomorrow we’ll head out for hands-on field work.

Learning in beautiful Crested Butte. Red Lady mountain in background, with Slate River valley to right, both the scene for many ski tours and epics over the years.

Today we quickly reviewed what we learned in Level 1, then dived into mountain weather, and did some practice using beacons for deep and multiple burials. It was great to learn more about how to look at the various weather resources on the web and relate that to the avalanche danger. Living a ways from the mountains, and only visiting them on weekends, it’s sometimes hard to find the areas that have good, safe skiing. I’m hoping to do a better job of keeping my eye on the weather throughout the week, and spending some more time cruising around the NOAA website, past the basic weather forecast.

We also did some work on the “probing on a line” method of doing a beacon search. I’ve always been taught to just use the basic fine beacon search to figure out where to probe for a victim, but this method seems like it’s faster, and eliminates some of the problems associated with deep burials.

Practicing probing on a line


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5 Responses to “Avy Class – Day 1”

  1. Matt December 17th, 2010 11:45 am

    How many total days is your course? There are both 3 and 4 day courses available is Roger’s Pass. Seems to me more days would be better, even if it costs more in time off and money. My AST 1 field day seemed really rushed and superficial.

  2. Nick December 17th, 2010 12:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing Louie. I am taking Level 2 in January, so will be interesting to track this and see how the courses are similar/different (although they both will be AAIRE-curriculum).

  3. Louie December 17th, 2010 9:41 pm

    Mine’s a four day course. I agree, I was more interested in a four day course than a three day course. The level one I took was a bit longer than some, and I liked that aspect of it.

  4. Mike Bromberg December 18th, 2010 9:04 am

    Nice post Louie. For those interested, here is a resource for the Pinpointing on a Line Technique over on BCA’s site.

  5. Lou December 18th, 2010 9:27 am

    A good example of how primitive beacon technology still is. And another reason why buried avalanche victims tend to suffocate before they’re dug out.

    Also made me realize I need to brush up on my pinpointing!

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