By Duncan Lee
Where do I start? Well a good first stop would be, what is an avalanche awareness presentation? This is sometimes confused with a class or a level 1 education. But anything that is someone standing in front of a crowd for a hand full of hours talking about avalanches, is only considered avalanche awareness. As set forth by the American Avalanche Association. But thats a great start! So after an awareness presentation what do you know? Well you would know some very basic info, like “hey theres avalanches in the mountains, and you need the appropriate gear to ride in the mountains!” You would also know that now you should take a full class on the snow to develop your skills so you can ride the mountains safely and effectively!
Motorized backcountry users make up about half of the North American avalanche fatalities every season, and if you look at the percentage of motorized use compared to human powered use then we are a much larger statistic when it comes to avalanche deaths. Why? I think mostly its out of sight out of mind. Many of our motorized community comes from where avalanches are not apart of the daily life. Whereas in the mountains, they happen on the regular. So if you have lived in a mountain area then you know about avalanches and are more likely to get some education. Our machines are also so much more capable than walking around in the woods, putting us further, faster, higher, and covering so many aspects in just a few minutes. This increases our exposure time, and variability of conditions we see in one day. Thus increasing our chances of avalanche activity.
I don’t want this to be a long winded rant, but rather just a heads up as to why you should check out an avalanche awareness presentation this fall. So heres some bullet points.
- Get your head in the game before its time to ride. (pre season training something all sports do)
- Learn something new. (I assure you everyone learns something new at every stop, even us)
- Check out the latest and greatest. (we live and breath this stuff and might have something new for you to check out)
- Find out how much you really don’t know. (yup, I bet you might surprise yourself thinking you knew all the stuff, but turns out unless you have done some pro training you don’t know enough)
- Enjoy an evening with a bunch of like minded people. (this is supposed to be fun! So we make sure that it is)
- Review what you already know. (If you have taken a class on the snow, this helps keep it fresh, if ya don’t use it ya loose it)
- Find out why taking a course on the snow is more than a class. (this is a common misconception, people think a 3 day course out of their 7 day vacation is going to suck…. well think again. You get a pro guide thats going to take you to epic riding, give you riding tips, and you get avy education on top. Oh did I mention every day your on the mountain…. yea its even less expensive than most guiding outfits like by half!)
- Take a course on the snow!!! (this is the one thing we want you to understand, because that is where you will develop the proper skills and put them to use, not just talk about them. You wouldn’t go scuba diving on your own in the depths of the ocean after a short talk about everything going on……would you?)
- Take a course on the snow!! (nope not a typo, this is the most valuable way to understand how to use the skills so you can shred the goods, stay safe, and come home every night)
So where can you find an awareness presentation this fall? Well myself (Duncan Lee) and Jeremy Hanke have teamed up with Highmark by Snowpulse and Mammut to bring you some options. Below is a list of locations and dates we have scheduled for our Awareness Outreach Tour. I hope you can attend, because this is more than just telling you what to do, its a fun evening listening to Jeremy, who is an avalanche survivor, with 25 years of backcountry experience and has been teaching avalanche education in Canada for quite some time. You will also get to listen to me, Duncan Lee! I was raised in the mountains, have been professional snowmobiler for 11 years, have over 25 years of backcountry experience, have been teaching avalanche education for 6 years, sit on the board of AIARE, help write the curriculum, Teach instructors, and am a pro trainer. Both Jeremy and I have set off dozens of avalanches, made mistakes, have close calls, and some wild stories. Our goal is to share our experiences, and what we have learned on how to do it right, so you don’t need to make mistakes. You can get straight to the goods via making good decisions and the right education. All it takes is one mistake and you might not be coming home. So please, you owe it to your loved ones and your riding partners to have all the knowledge you can get before going into avalanche terrain, its more than important to understand what lies ahead. See you soon!
- October 9th – Evolution Powersports, Watertown, South Dakota
- October 10th – Chopper City Sports, Fridely, Minnesota
- October 30th – ADS Motorsports, Ogden Utah
- November 8th – Clarks Marine, Coleville, Washington
- November 11th – Supreme Powersports, Lewiston, Idaho
- November 12th – Allsport Polaris, Liberty Lake, Washington
- November 13th – Grizzly Sports, Caldwell, Idaho