SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

What I Did On My Winter Vacation: Avalanche Training

Senior Editor Shannon Davis gives you an inside look at avalanche training



First off, winter vacation is a misnomer. It was more of a long weekend, and it consisted of 10-hour days filled with lectures, power point presentations, snowshoeing, “strategic shoveling,” shovel tap tests, signal searching, probing, and eating lots and lots of donut holes.  Can you guess what I was doing?

Here's a multiple-choice quiz to help you narrow your guesses:

Shannon was:

1.Taking an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level 1 Avalanche Course.
2. Auditioning for a new reality television program called Norwegian Idol.
3. Actually in Mexico drinking on the beach. He made up the stuff on this list so his boss would think his absence was work-related and not dock a personal day.

If you guessed #1, thumbs up for yout: I was taking an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course. And if you guessed 2 or 3, thanks for believing that I am that Norwegiously talented or that ballsy.  Alas, I am just more knowledgeable about avalanche terrain and making good decisions in said terrain than I was before.

If you snowshoe in the backcountry, winter camp, backcountry ski or splitboard, or fancy yourself a mountaineer, AIARE 1 is an extremely valuable course. Over the three days we spent in Rocky Mountain National Park (during which we got over a foot of fresh pow), I learned a ton. Here are some highlights:

--The biggest red flag in assessing avalanche terrain is slope angle, and avalanches occur most often on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees. It’s astonishing how benign a 30-degree slope looks, so add a slope meter to your winter gear kit.  Some other red flags: 12 inches or more of snow in one day, wind (will create snow slaps on leeward slopes), rapidly warming temps, new soft snow layers on solar aspects (parts of a mountain that get the most solar radiation).

--When properly excavating an avalanche victim, you will move between one and 1.5 tons of snow (this is more than my truck weighs). The guidelines of “strategic shoveling” require that you dig a platform downslope from the probe-strike, two meters wide and 1.5 times the depth of the probe strike long. This will enable you to dig to the level of the victim and have a surface to provide first aid once the victim is extracted. Your beacon search, probing, and shoveling should all be completed within 15 minutes; survival drops off considerably after this benchmark.

--Snowflakes are pretty! I haven’t thought about this much since probably 3rd grade, but I think macro shots of single flakes will be my new decorating scheme. Bye bye Ansel Adams prints, hello flakes. My wife will love this. And fresh snow in the park is damn pretty, too.

--Pretrip planning is so important. Check the avalanche forecast (Colorado has a great one: http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php), then look at your intended route on the map. Predetermine risky areas and alternate routes, then create points on the map where you are going to stop and assess conditions, your best route options, and your travel technique. Pretty soon you’ll be saying stuff like:  “Conditions are high on north to southeast facing aspects at treeline and above on slopes of 30 degrees or higher. We’re going to hit that terrain at mile 2.5 right after this tight switchback on the map. We’ll stop there and check snowpack.”

--Three essential pieces of gear: avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel. Don’t leave home without them, and don’t strap them to the outside of your pack—stuff tends to fall off when lashed to the outside. You wouldn’t lash your lunch to the outside of our pack would you? This stuff is even more important.

--The Colorado Mountain School is an awesome place to take a course (or sign up for a climb). Our instructors, Russel and Andrew, were super-professional and made learning delicious and calorie-packed (free donuts every morn!). Plus, there’s a bunkhouse at their Estes Park base with a full kitchen that’s only $25/night. Russel even blogged about the course. Check it out here. http://www.coloradomountainschool.blogspot.com/

—Shannon Davis

Image credit: Strange Ones

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
www.onlinegmsale.com
Jan 19, 2014

# San Francisco 49ers Jerseys china
http://www.onlinegmsale.com/San-Francisco-49ers-Jerseys-s644.html
49ers 7 kaepernick jersey cheap
Cheap 49ers 53 bowman jerseys
49ers #35 reid nfl jerseys
# 49er jerseys wholesale
# 49er jerseys elite
49ers t shirt cheap
http://www.onlinegmsale.com/NFL-T-Shirt-c126.html
49ers elite nfl jerseys
49ers game nfl jerseys cheap
http://www.onlinegmsale.com/Nike-NFL-Jerseys-c124.html
49ers limited nfl jerseys sale
http://www.onlinegmsale.com/
49ers red limit jerseys elite jersey game jerseys

Star Star Star Star Star
POLO
Jan 03, 2014

Gucci Factory Outlet, http://www.guccivshoesfactory.com/
Longchamp Bags Sale, http://www.longchampxmassale.com/
Ralph Lauren Outlet Online, http://www.llaurenralph.com/
Hollister UK Shops, http://www.cheaphollistersale.co.uk/
Polo Factory Store, http://www.polo-outletstoreonline.com/
Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online, http://www.ralphllaurenpolo.com/
Marc Jacobs Sale, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
MCM ؔ, http://www.mcmoutlet-jp.com/
North Clearance Outlet Online, http://www.north-clearance.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.mk-outletblackfriday.com/
Gucci Outlet Online, http://www.discountclothsale.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.coachoutletsus.com/
Coach Factory Outlet, http://www.coach-outletfactory.com/
Coach Factory, http://www.coach-factories.com/
Coach Purses Outlet, http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/
Canada Goose Christmas, http://www.canadagoose-chrismas.com/
Michael Kors Outlet, http://www.michaelkorsr.com/
North Jackets Clearance, http://www.north-faceoutletonlines.net/
Burberry Clothing Outlet, http://www.burbagssale2013.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.coach-pursesonsale.com/
UGG Classic Boots, http://uggsbootsale.tumblr.com/
Coach Outlet, http://www.coach-blackfriday.com/
Coach Purses Outlet, goo.gl/ZO5AjH
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online, http://www.louisvuittonsale.nl.ae/
http://www.michaelkorsoutletr.com/
Michael Kors Outlet
Discount Michael Kors
http://www.michael-korsfactorystore.com/
Michael Kors Outlet
Michael Kors Factory Store
http://www.michaellkorsfactoryonline.com/
Michael Kors Outlet
Discount micheal kors

Star Star Star Star Star
www.jersey2shop.com
Apr 30, 2013

Cheap china nfl jerseys wholesale
http://www.jersey2shop.com/
Australia basketball jerseys. Australia soccer jerseys, cheap mlb jerseys, college basketball jerseys, wholesale nba jerseys,wholesale nhl jerseys,discount nhl jerseys
http://www.jersey2shop.com/Nike-NFL-Jerseys-c124/
nike nfl Jerseys cheap ,super bowl nfl jerseys sale
http://www.jersey2shop.com/MLB-Jerseys-c94/
baseball jerseys for sale mlb jerseys cheap cheap nhl jersey
http://www.jersey2shop.com/NBA-Jerseys-c77/
wholesale mlb jerseys cheap nhl jerseys wholesale nhl jerseys, basketball jerseys cheap, nba jerseys for sale. college ncaa jerseys
http://www.jersey2shop.com/Soccer-Jerseys-c118/
Australia basketball jerseys sale. Australia soccer jerseys cheap.

Star Star Star Star Star
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com
Apr 10, 2013

Super bowl nfl jerseys http://www.yourjerseyhome.com cheap nfl jerseys wholesale,Nike Baltimore Ravens Jerseys . Australia basketball jerseys. Australia soccer jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/San-Francisco-49ers-s644.html Nike San Francisco 49ers jerseys light out black jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NBA-Jerseys-c77.html throwback M&N Jerseys, limited nfl jerseys, elite nfl jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NCAA-Jerseys-c114.html college ncaa jerseys cheap
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/Nike-NFL-Jerseys-c124.html cool base MLB Jerseys, 2012 world series San Francisco Giants MLB Jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/San-Francisco-49ers-s644.html Revolution 30 Swingman NBA Jerseys, Hardwood Classics NBA Jerseys

Star Star Star Star Star
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com
Apr 10, 2013

Super bowl nfl jerseys http://www.yourjerseyhome.com cheap nfl jerseys wholesale,Nike Baltimore Ravens Jerseys . Australia basketball jerseys. Australia soccer jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/San-Francisco-49ers-s644.html Nike San Francisco 49ers jerseys light out black jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NBA-Jerseys-c77.html throwback M&N Jerseys, limited nfl jerseys, elite nfl jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NCAA-Jerseys-c114.html college ncaa jerseys cheap
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/Nike-NFL-Jerseys-c124.html cool base MLB Jerseys, 2012 world series San Francisco Giants MLB Jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/San-Francisco-49ers-s644.html Revolution 30 Swingman NBA Jerseys, Hardwood Classics NBA Jerseys

Star Star Star Star Star
http://www.3cjerseys.com
Feb 19, 2013

cheap convenient and creditworthy is our service tenet . In our site ,we provide all kinds of cheap nfl jerseys , just as nfl jerseys , NBA jerseys, NHL jerseys , NCAA jersey, Football jerseys , the new era hats , we also provide jerseys customized service . All the products in our website are from china with wholesale price , so you can buy cheap products wiht high quality ! Now ,you can choose different payment in our website ,just as paypal , western union and VISA credit card . more information please visit http://www.3cjerseys.com
http://www.21elitenfljerseys.com

johndouglas
Feb 25, 2010

Congrats on the Interview! Looks like there was some communications lag, but it wasnt horribly

disruptive. Having been involved in a few things like this, I realize that just getting your thoughts in

edgewise during an interview can be a challenge. I thought you came off well!

<a href="http://www.funnyvideos.be" rel="dofollow">Funny Videos</a>

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Shot Down
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: High_Sierra_Fan
Gear
Gear you once poo-pooed but now love?
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions