Location: Ogden, UT
December 6: 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM (virtual)
December 7: 8 AM-4 PM (Ogden-TBA)
Upon order completion, you will be sent a confirmation with details to access course materials and student resources.
Skiing and snowboarding are more safe and enjoyable when you understand avalanche hazards and how to move through the mountains safely. If you’re tired of following your friends who have more experience than you and want to become a valuable member of the team, this is the class for you. Nobody wants to be that partner that can't make informed decisions or be counted on during a rescue. Spend some time in the virtual classroom and a day on the snow with the pros to learn how to get out in the backcountry, have fun, and come home ready to do it again.
You will be sent the pre-course learning resources and the UAC BC 101 recorded presentations to complete on your own time, which will explain avalanche characteristics, snowpack fundamentals, clues to instability, terrain assessment, safe travel protocol, rescue, and decision-making techniques. You'll learn how to recognize avalanche terrain, travel in the backcountry based on current conditions, and rescue a buried partner. The virtual evening session will require you to join a Zoom call for approximately 2 hours in which we will cover logistics and answer questions.
On your field day, we will meet and break into groups of 6 or less and make travel plans based on current conditions. We will spend the day touring the backcountry. We'll assess the snowpack, practice safe route-finding and decision-making, and perform a rescue. We encourage all participants to register for a 4-hour Avalanche Rescue Clinic or an 8-hour Avalanche Rescue Course in addition to this 101 class.
Who should take this course?
This class is for skiers & snowboarders who go into the backcountry in the winter. It is designed as an introductory course for those who are new to backcountry skiing and riding. We highly recommend that you have some experience using your touring equipment ie. transitioning your gear into uphill and downhill mode, turning your transceiver on/off into search mode, as well as assembling your probe, and shovel. You can do this in safe areas away from avalanche terrain. This course can serve as a refresher for those who have previously taken formal avalanche courses and are looking to refresh their skills and learn the most up-to-date information and techniques.
What is required for this course?
This is an introductory level course and therefore can be your first avalanche education course. For this course, you are required to provide your own skis with alpine touring bindings and climbing skins or a splitboard with climbing skins. We do not allow snowshoes for this course. You’ll also need to provide your own avalanche rescue equipment. You’ll need a modern 457 kHz Digital 3-Antenna beacon, a collapsible probe 240 cm or longer, a collapsible metal avalanche rescue shovel, and a backpack to carry your equipment. Make sure that you are familiar with how to assemble your probe and shovel, turn your beacon on and off and into search/send modes. If you need to purchase rescue equipment you can do so here. A portion of your sale benefits the Utah Avalanche Center.
- Describe the equipment necessary for winter backcountry travel.
- Understand the basic functionality of avalanche rescue equipment
- Find and interpret local mountain weather forecasts and avalanche advisory information.
- Differentiate avalanche terrain from terrain where avalanches can not occur.
- Describe a basic process to manage risk for winter backcountry travel.
- Perform basic skills required for companion rescue.
- Interpret the avalanche forecast.
- Perform safe travel techniques to avoid avalanche terrain.
- Practice with rescue equipment.
- As a group discuss current conditions, potential hazards, and form a plan.
In order to maximize the course experience for you and all students, we recommend that you be fit enough to spend the day hiking uphill with skins on and descending slopes in unpredictable snow conditions.
You will need skis or a split board, boots, bindings, and skins capable of uphill and downhill travel. Please do not show up planning to use snowshoes. You will need an avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, and backpack. You must be familiar with the basic functions of your equipment and ready to use it.
You will also need to carry with you everything you would take for a typical day trip in the mountains:
- Extra layers
- First aid and Repair Kit
- Sunglasses & Sunscreen