Sunday, February 24, 2008

WMS Level 1 Avalanche Course, The Canyons, UT

Spent the weekend teaching a Level 1 avalanche course for Exum as part of the Wilderness Medical Society's Wilderness and Mountain Medicine Conference. In addition to various lectures on avalanche safety, rescue, snow science, etc. on Friday evening and on Saturday and Sunday, we spent both Saturday and Sunday out in the field in the near-piste backcountry of The Canyons resort. Saturday's outdoor session was devoted to practicing beacon searches, avalanche rescue scenarios and constructing snow profiles and performing stability tests. Sunday was a bit of an unpleasant day, with super high winds, graupel up to 4 cm per hour and even a lightning storm complete with loud thunder claps while we were on the ridge. All in a days work! We still managed to get in a short tour and practice weather observation, route finding, tracksetting and on-the go style stability observations. It was a great weekend and a good reminder that even a hack like me has a little something to offer to highly qualified and successful doctors.


maculae said...

As a not person that doesn't quite enjoy skiing that much, does this course require a lot of that?

Jasmin said...

Hey maculae,

The course doesn't involve skiing much at all. Most of the outside time is spent digging in the snow and looking at terrain. You do need to be able to travel a bit on skis though.