Just a quick note before we head out backcountry skiing this morning (yeah!). It’s been a few years since I took my level one avalanche class. You can never know enough about avalanches, so I’ve been wanting to take my level two for a while.
Unfortunately it is hard to squeeze a four day class in with a full college schedule. I needed a class that was held during winter break, which is pretty early season for most avalanche courses. As I’m returning to Colorado for the break, I spent some time trying to find one that would fit in my schedule there. There’s also the advantage of the notoriously dangerous Colorado snowpack. Better to have a bunch of depth hoar and sun crusts to study than a five foot layer of dense cement with some powder on top.
I decided to go with Crested Butte Mountain Guides, on their course that starts on the 16th. Based in Crested Butte, Colorado, they’re right in the thick of our hairball snowpack, and have to make decisions every day based on analysis. Thus, I’m excited to get some new avalanche knowledge from the core, and hopefully become a safer backcountry skier. I’ll do a few trip reports during the course to let you all know how it goes. Should be interesting. It’s the one time I’m actually hoping the snowpack is more scary than good (just kidding). For more info about avy courses, see AIARE.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.