Avalanche Safety

MOUNTAIN SKILLZ offers 2 different avalanche safety courses specifically catering to motorized users (snowmobilers and snowbikers). Each of these courses is designed to relate to your riding and help you make educated decisions on the snow. Matt Entz is a professional member with the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and a certified motorized Level 1 course provider through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). 2017-2018 will be the 7th winter that we have offered our Intro Course in a partnership with the Wolf Creek Avalanche School and the 2nd winter to offer the Level 1 Course.

 

INTRO TO AVALANCHES

This course is designed to provide snowmobilers with a basic foundation of knowledge in the field of avalanche safety. An evening classroom session is followed by a full day of on the snow instruction and training. The evening classroom session consists of a slideshow and group discussion as we prepare for our day of on the snow training. On the snow training begins with a gear check(beacon, shovel, probe, and backpack) and review of that days local avalanche bulletin from CAIC. If you do not have the proper safety gear, we will provide necessary gear for the day at NO COST.

The day will be spent learning and practicing the following-

  • understand your beacon
  • group management
  • safe travel management
  • terrain recognition
  • assessing avalanche danger
  • performing a rescue
  • beacon search
  • using a probe
  • strategic shoveling
  • measuring slope angle
  • identifying and understanding layers in the snow
  • relating avalanche education to your riding

 

LEVEL 1

This 3 day course is taught based on the AIARE motorized curriculum. You will gain extensive and in-depth knowledge through terminology, professional resources, case studies, instruction, practice, and applying the knowledge to a full day of riding. Day 1 is spent in the classroom learning about terrain recognition, different types of avalanches, what causes avalanches, snowpack variation, safe travel practices, resources for information pertaining to weather, snowpack, and avalanche conditions, a couple of case studies, record keeping, and much more. Day 2 is split into 2 different sessions. The morning session takes place in the classroom preparing for the afternoon. The afternoon session is all about gear and rescue. These items include-

  • proper gear overview
  • understand your beacon
  • performing a rescue
  • communication and leadership
  • beacon search
  • using a probe
  • strategic shoveling
  • handling an emergency situation
  • group management and communication

Day 3 is dedicated to riding your snowmobile in avalanche terrain and applying everything you learned on days 1 and 2! Everyone will be expected to lead the group demonstrating the skills acquired throughout the course. Students must be on their game as they will be challenged mentally and physically to assure they are relating the information to their riding. Some of the additional items learned and applied throughout the day are-

  • checking/discussing local avalanche forecast
  • daily plan/goals
  • gear check
  • group management
  • make observations
  • measuring slope angle
  • snowpack evaluation, learning about layers
  • stability tests
  • document information
  • perform a rescue
  • safely navigate avalanche terrain
  • communication
  • submit an observation

 

Check Schedule and Availability.
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Mountain Skillz is an equal opportunity service provider operating under a Special Use Permit in the Rio Grande National Forest