Ski-Doo snowmobiles will again be supporting backcountry rider education with free avalanche awareness and avoidance seminars for snowmobilers – for all riders of all brands at all levels of experience – with a return to in-person events. The brand’s support has been consistent since 2009 and Backcountry Access (BCA), a widely respected avalanche safety equipment manufacturer, joined the effort in 2015 supporting these seminars with equipment and in-depth knowledge of backcountry recreation safety.
As the global snowmobile market leader, Ski-Doo recognizes the importance of continuing its role to advance rider safety in backcountry use. More than 20,000 snowmobilers have attended Ski-Doo-sponsored avalanche awareness seminars, with extremely positive feedback from the sled community. This year, there are ongoing challenges with COVID social distancing and large group gathering regulations that will vary by location, but Ski-Doo dealers and seminar instructors are working together to meet local rules and expectations.
Riders are encouraged to bring friends along, especially those with whom they ride most often. The core benefit is clear – help raise group awareness of those you ride with and care about, to ensure you can all track the groups’ well-being and help each other if a situation ever occurs.
Along with sponsoring in-person seminars, Ski-Doo and BCA created a useful video series which can be found in the Ski-Doo Owner Zone to advance knowledge remotely. Riders are also encouraged to use Backcountry Ascender, an online backcountry education platform.
This free, self-directed program provides basic avalanche education and encourages traditional course attendance to advance to higher levels. Much of the course content can be completed online, and where needed, the program directs users to relevant in-person courses like the Ski-Doo/BCA-sponsored seminars.
“Keeping backcountry riders safe has been a focus at Ski-Doo for over a decade, and training like this can be a huge first step or a great refresher on the skills riders need to know for safe travel in avalanche terrain,” said Annick Lauzon, Global Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo Marketing Director. “Our trainers provide expert instruction, and by teaming up with BCA and Backcountry Ascender, we’re bringing relevant and specific snowmobile content to our riders in a fun environment that raises the levels of awareness and education in the interest of safety.”
About the Seminars
Seminars in Canada are led by Marshall Dempster, a recognized avalanche forecaster, Lead Instructor (AST1 and 2) and Backcountry Guide. Dempster is a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association, professional avalanche forecaster and retired Canadian Avalanche Association Rescue dog handler. He has 20 years of mountain experience focused on safe travel and mountain rescue.
Mike Duffy of Avalanche1.com is one of the most recognized snowmobile trainers in North America. He’s a certified instructor, course provider and professional member of the American Avalanche Association. He leads the seminars in the United States, instructing at the American Avalanche Institute, Alaska Avalanche School and Silverton Avalanche School. Duffy has been giving snowmobile-specific avalanche classes since 1996. As rescue team leader in the Vail Mountain Rescue Group, he has more than 29 years of mountain riding and mountain rescue experience. He is also a Backcountry Guide and riding instructor.
Because there may be COVID restrictions in place, participants are encouraged to register with the host dealer so they can plan meeting space accordingly and ensure a spot.