Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I spent the last two weeks of January teaching AIARE avalanche safety courses around Colorado. I started with the US Army's 10th Special Forces taking a couple of Green Beret's to the Lost Wonder Hut on top of Monarch Pass. We spent three days skiing, digging pits a doing stability tests. The weather was changing, bringing in snow on our last day and setting up a good storm and avalanche cycle for the next few courses.
The next day I began a Level 2 avy course for Crested Butte Mountain Guides. We got half a meter of snow in a day and a night making for awesome powder skiing and some great conditions for studying the snowpack.

As the storm cleared out, I finished up that course and began another AIARE Level 2 custom course for the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol.

As a patroller myself, I see the benefit to having a good snow safety team and making the crossover from a backcountry setting to the frontcountry.
For the grand finale I took a group of five including a 15 year old with his father out to the new Maroon Hut in the Gothic Townsite for another three day AIARE Level 1 course.
Doing an avy course at a hut gives so much more time in the field to analyze terrain, check out the snowpack and practice making group decisions.
Another party in the area remotely triggered a pretty big avalanche, giving us the chance to check it out and see what real avalanche debris looks like. A real eye opener for people just getting into the backcountry.
Looking forward to having a day off, I made the mistake of checking my messages and somehow agreed to doing a day of Avalanche Control work for the soon-to-be-opening CS Irwin Snowcat Skiing operation. It was a good mix of powder skiing and throwing explosives all day. We got some good results, triggering one rather large avalanche which slid to the ground.
It was a long stint of work, but fun work at that. The backcountry around Crested Butte has been skiing really well, and with some friends in town I kept the streak going hitting up some powder stashes and scoping out the snowpack as the next storm is setting up over the coast.
Steve Banks
IFMGA Mountain Guide

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Exploring such amazing places is a very challenging task...but its real fun and enthusiastic job for all those who like to take risk in their life....all of the things stated in here are very amazing thing to read about.