Have you been eyeing lines on Shuksan Arm? Are you starting to ski tour or splitboard? Or have you experienced a close call that opened your eyes? Our Avalanche Awareness & Backcountry Fundamentals course provides an avalanche awareness and backcountry safety education for skiers and riders seeking deeper knowledge of snow, weather and terrain as well as travel and rescue techniques. Taught by a committed crew of Mt. Baker-based educators with lifetimes of local backcountry knowledge, this course provides a strong foundation for big mountain backcountry travel in complex terrain.
By the end of this course you will be able to interpret the NWAC avalanche forecast, identify various types of avalanche problems, communicate effectively with your backcountry group and make more informed evaluations and knowledgeable decisions about conditions you choose to go out in and route finding in avalanche terrain. You’ll also be introduced to snowpack layer identification and field stability tests. You will also learn the mechanics of an avalanche beacon search while also practicing effective pinpoint probing and strategic shoveling techniques then putting all those skills into practice during three field-based simulated group rescue situations.
- Avalanche Awareness and Backcountry Safety: Applying the Forecast to Decision Making
- Avalanche Terrain Identification: Hazard Avoidance Through Route Selection
- Intro to Field Observations and Identifying the Avalanche Problem
- Case Studies and Analysis of Local Avalanche Accidents
- Understanding Your Online Resources
Field exercises are designed to give students practical experience identifying and evaluating avalanche terrain, introduction to weather and snowpack observations, and practice performing organized response to avalanche accidents.
- Avalanche Terrain Identification
- Route Selection & Hazard Avoidance
- Introduction to Weather & Snowpack Observation Skills
- Multiple Rescue Scenarios
- Lift tickets for non-passholders for field components.
- Curriculum assumes participants have the ability to ski or snowboard terrain typical to backcountry runs. Students will be accessing more/most difficult (blue/black) named runs within the ski area.
- Skis/Snowboard as we will be moving about the ski area during the field sessions.
- Backcountry rescue gear and outerwear appropriate for field sessions.
For winter 2020-21, all in-person sessions will be conducted outdoors in the field with masks and distancing protocols in place. Afternoon field sessions meet outside at the Heather Meadows Base Area at 11:00 am and end at 4:00 pm. Exact locations and times will be staggered to facilitate physical distancing. Information about meeting location, additional virtual sessions and e-learning will be provided after course registration.
For the winter of 2020-21 we request that all registration be completed by calling the office at 360-734-6771 to minimize traffic to our Bellingham Business Office.
- Enroll in MEC courses by calling 360-734-6771 Monday-Friday 9am-430pm
- Online enrollment is not available at this time
- On-mountain enrollment is not available at this time
MEC Avalanche Awareness & Backcountry Fundamentals • COURSE INFO
|2021 SESSION DATES|
|A||Saturday & Sunday||Jan 23 & 24|
|B||Saturday & Sunday||Feb 20 & 21|
|NEW! C||Saturday & Sunday||Mar 20 & 21|
14 Hours Total
|Session Cost||$135 Current Mt. Baker Passholders|
|Class Size||min. 8 / max. 16|