Sunday, January 16, 2011


With backcountry skiing you can never be too prepared or too educated. Graeme and the people we ski with have all done avalanche training and continue to take courses. In general they won't go with anyone who hasn't. I've done some basic training with them and have attended some talks on recognizing snow conditions, but I needed to take the avalanche safety training myself.

The course is done over 2 days. I was supposed to take this course back in December (on what was a beautiful weekend) but had to postpone it as I wasn't confident enough in my back.

The dates I postponed to was this weekend. And so instead of beautiful sunny days, I spent the weekend outside in a combination of gray, damp and zero visibilty conditions to a complete downpour and zero visibility.

I don't think I have ever been as wet as I was today.

Saturday was day 1. We started off in the classroom for the morning and then headed out in 2 groups. We skinned up the trail at Mt. Seymour on corn soft snow. Luckily at this time it wasn't actually raining. We did some beacon practice, learned how to mobilize properly in case of an avalanche and learned things such as proper shoveling technique. The rain started during the session and it was wet, but manageable.

The forecast for Sunday was better. Never trust the forecast! It's not as though I could have worn something more appropriate anyway, so that wasn't the problem. The problem was the complete downpouring rain. We skinned up at 8:15am and learned how to dig a pit. Soon enough, even my goretex jacket was wet through. We were supposed to be out most of the day, but it just wasn't possible. we went back to the cabin, did some inside work while we tried to dry out a little and then headed back out for multiple beacon practice. Putting back on my soaking wet ski pants was not fun!

Overall it was a great course and I'm glad I took it, but the weather really left something to be desired!

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