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Avalanche Safety and the Holidays

January 13th, 2010 Lexi Leave a comment Go to comments

I am sorry for being so out of date with my bloging. A lot has happened since my last post!  I will quickly catch you up to speed with what I have been up too since my fall semester of school ended.

On Friday the 18th of December after my final exams I drove from Boulder Colorado to Sun Valley Idaho with my little sister Madi. We drove quickly and made it home just in time for me to get my touring gear together and drive up to Stanley Idaho early Saturday morning, the 19th of December, where I join the first Ascent team to get my Avalanche 1 certification. We spent 2 nights in the Williams peak yurt and had a blast learning about the snow conditions from the best group of guides you could ask for. For every one student there were two guides making a very successful learning environment.

We were given different dissection making tools to use in the backcountry. We learned how to dig and analyze snow pits, we studied different avalanche cases, and we learned how to successfully and accurately find a victim buried in the snow. By the end of the course I knew that I was not ready to take on the responsibility of guiding people in the backcountry but I did how ever feel confident making decisions in avalanche terrain. I think I speak for the whole first ascent junior guide team when I say we couldn’t have asked for a better group of adult guides or  information.

After the Avy 1 course I went back to Sun Valley to spend time skiing with my family and friends. Some of my relatives from New York came to visit for Christmas and I had a blast showing them the slopes. They all wanted to move to Sun Valley by the end of their trip and I know for sure they will be back soon.

Once the holidays ended I headed back up to Stanley Idaho with the First Ascent team to get my Avalanche 2 certification. This time the learning environment was a little different from the previous avalanche course. The guide to student ratio was two to 6. Not only was I the only junior guide but I was the only girl and I was the youngest by 6 years. The group included, Will Wissman, Reggie Christ, Tom Ways, Drew Stoecklein, Wyatt Coldwell, and my self, led by Kent McBride, and Kirk Bachman.It was EPIC. During the Avy 2 course we learned how to lead trips, dig a variety of detailed snow pits, analyze the snow crystals, we studied the weather and the atmosphere, we went into detail about the human factor, and we learned how to speak, read, eat, and breath avalanches. The stability was considerable the whole time so our skiing consisted of going back down the skin path.

Unfortunately my trip was cut short because I had to leave a day early in order to catch a flight to Revelstoke Canada for the second stop on the Free Skiing World Tour. I plan on going back up to Stanley Idaho in mid February to finish the course and officially get my Avalanche 2 certification. I feel really lucky to have been given the opportunity to get my Avy 1 and most of my Avy 2 Certification. Thank you Eddie Bauer, the First Ascent team, and Sawtooth Mountain guides for all of my avalanche education and the great experience.

Avy 1 Class room time in the Williams Peak Yurt in Stanley Idaho

The Sunrise from the Williams Peak Yurt!

The Williams Peak Yurt. Home sweat home and the class room!

Inside the yurt.

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