The Avalanche team is attempting to work within our winter schedule. If you have not noticed, we have lost a week or two at the end of our season. The snowpack is not as deep as it once was. We also have an increasing population heading into the backcountry, and our programs require more avalanche training.
So, our team is trying something new – a mid-week program at Smugglers’ Notch. We have no idea if this will work for our members, but we have had several requests for it. So you asked, and we are delivering.
We will also be running a Level 2 Avalanche program this year. It has been too long. We are organizing an amazing lineup of instructors and guest speakers. This Level 2 program is required for our Avalanche instructor candidates. I expect this class will fill up fast.
We are delivering an amazing product at a low cost to our users. We will be A3 certified for our Level 1 class, again helping our students by providing a long-term path for future training. We have elected not to become A3 certified for our Level 2 course as this is not on a critical path for our students. It appears that our Level 2 far exceeds the typical recreational Level 2. In fact, our Level 2 is a prep class for Pro Level 1 classes.
I just got back from the Eastern Snow Avalanche Workshop and again was reminded how amazing our program and team are, but I did see some numbers that suggest that East Coast skiers are potentially heading into avalanche terrain with less education and preparation than our Western skiers.
So please, if you are heading into avalanche terrain, get the education and equipment you need. But more importantly, it’s critically important that you have partners that are ready to dig you out. This is where we are lacking on the east coast. We often have one person with the equipment and training, but other party members do not.
If you want to learn more about skiing in avalanche country, sign up for our course at Smugglers’ Notch. For more information, contact David Childs, Eastern Division Avalanche Supervisor, at 413-464-1044.
For more information about the Avalanche course at Smugglers’ Notch, one of four Avalanche courses currently scheduled around the Eastern Division, visit Patroller School and look for the Avalanche Events tile.
Think snow and loads of it!
The 2024 Patroller School schedule and many other training events have been posted on the Eastern Division’s EVENT website. Please use it to find division-based educational events. The four programs that actively utilize Patroller School are:
Outdoor Emergency Transportation offers training weekend events
Avalanche Program offers online and weekend courses
Mountain Travel & Rescue offers a variety of online and weekend courses
Patroller Stress Preparedness offers a self-paced online course for individuals
Twenty years ago, the concept of offering high-level training opportunities taught by Division staff Instructors originated with Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET). OET was initially known as the “ski and toboggan” program. It created the first Patroller School at Windham Resort in Southern NY as an opportunity for NSP members patrolling at smaller mountains to train on the big slopes with moguls. The event became popular and became a socializing weekend, as Patrollers traveled from all around the division to gather for a common training purpose. Soon, the concept spread to every corner of the Division and today includes Women’s events, snowboard training, telemark skiing, etc.
Avalanche courses follow a high-level curriculum because they deliver certification that some patrollers require as part of their patrolling profession. The course is quite long, with an online study component and a weekend of two and a half days traveling in avalanche terrain. Patroller School is an excellent place for members to shop when considering the type of avalanche certification they should invest in. NSP’s Avalanche Level Once is a little more involved than traditional “Companion Rescue Avalanche” certification because NSP includes a professional group rescue module.
Mountain Travel and Rescue, known as MTR for short, is NSP’s entry-level backcountry travel course. It covers winter ski camping from the perspective of navigation, sheltering in the mountains, staying warm, nutrition, trip planning, group leadership, organized search and rescue (SAR), etc. Completing the course gives members certification for joining SAR activities nationwide, known as ASTM F-2209 Land Searcher One certificate. Watch the MTR Events page to see courses added during late autumn and early spring. This is a great event to attend after the typical ski season concludes.
Eastern Division’s Stress Awareness Team has added a self-paced online course that individuals can sign up to experience. The team has been working on programs for preparing. Patrollers to better handle stress in both their rescue work as well as from the pressures of daily life. Developing individual techniques for handling the more challenging aspect of Patrolling has been found to alleviate the effects of stress. Learn to monitor yourself before, during, and after especially stressful situations. Learn how to recognize if the effects of stress are leading to an injury. Learn that you are not alone; there are Patrollers at your resort who can help; learn how to help yourself.
Visit Eastern Division’s EVENT website to look for educational opportunities by Googling PatrollerSchool.ORG