Avalanche Canada’s annual Avalanche Awareness Days are back for 2018! This series of events take place at ski resorts across Canada to promote safety and knowledge in the winter backcountry. As an avalanche educator and guiding outfitter, Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures will again be participating both in Whistler and the Rockies this year. Here’s a list of events going on this weekend.
Kananaskis Country, AB – January 21
For those of you residing in Banff, Canmore, Calgary or surrounding areas, Alberta Parks is organizing a free event at Burstall Pass Day Use Area in Kananaskis Country on Sunday, January 21 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. MSAA guides will be on hand hosting talks and answering questions about avalanche terrain as well as demonstrating beacon searches and snow pits. There’s also a bunch of other activities on site including quinzhee (snow shelter) building, shovel dig races, rescue dog demos and snowshoe and fatbike demos. There will be complimentary food and drink available. Remember to dress warm!
Banff, AB – January 21
Taking place at the Max Bell Auditorium at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity on Sunday, January 21 at 7 p.m., this free event will feature presentations by snow safety experts, films from the Banff Mountain Film + Book Festival as well as door prizes and a trade show. MSAA staff will have a booth and will be ready to answer any avalanche safety questions.
Companion Rescue Skills Refresher, Whistler Blackcomb, BC (January 20)
If you have taken your AST 1 and need a quick season refresher to sharpen your rescue skills, Vancouver and Sea to Sky residents are welcome to join us this Saturday, January 20 for a FREE Companion Rescue Refresher course. We have two sessions taking place on Saturday; the morning session will meet at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre at 8:30 a.m. and the afternoon session will meet at the light board adjacent to the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain at 12:30 p.m. The course runs for approximately three hours and covers transceiver search technique, effective probing and shoveling as well as the function of airbags. A season pass, Edge Card or backcountry day lift ticket, is required for mountain access. Make sure to bring your backcountry equipment (touring skis/splitboard, skins, beacon shovel and probe), if you require rentals we recommend you book through Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre as it will be convenient for pick up before meeting your guide. Downhill ski or snowboard equipment is fine to use for this refresher course. Call 604 938 9242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your spot.
Avalanche Awareness Tours, Blackcomb Mountain, BC (ongoing for winter)
Whistler Blackcomb hosts daily Avalanche Awareness Tours daily at the Avalanche Hut on Blackcomb Mountain (across from the Rendezvous Lodge) at 12:30 p.m. An Avalanche Awareness tour guide will be on hand at this location to answer questions this weekend.
Garibaldi Park, Squamish – January 20-21
This weekend BC Park Rangers will be holding Avalanche Awareness Days at the Red Heather Shelter in Garibaldi Park, accessed from Diamond Head Area. This free event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include single and multiple burial transceiver tests, snow profile demos and gear use demos. Allow 1-2 hours to get from the parking lot to Red Heather and expect winter traveling conditions. Vehicle chains are mandatory for the upper section of Garibaldi Park Road.
Looking to further your avalanche education this winter? We have AST 2 courses beginning Jan. 19, Jan. 27 and Feb. 24 in Whistler and March 2 in Banff/Canmore. Stay safe in the backcountry this winter.
Written by: Vince Shuley