Going Deep: A Series of Backcountry Decision Making Workshops

MSR_MOUNTAINSAFETYRESEARCH[2].jpg EddieBauer.jpg Presented by Mountain Safety Research & Eddie Bauer

Join us as the Northwest Avalanche Center brings together seasoned backcountry professionals along with outside-industry experts in an effort to provide tangible solutions to improve decision making in the backcountry.  Each workshop will be an interactive experience probing deeper into our decision making process and learn new techniques to improve those decisions.  Come prepared to participate and takeaway some valuable techniques for your next backcountry outing.

Session #1: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Avalanche Forecasting (But Were Afraid to Ask): An Evening with the Staff of the Northwest Avalanche Center
When: Thursday, October 22th Doors at 5:30, Session begins promptly at 5:30pm and ends at 9pm
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Summary: What's the difference between 'high' and 'considerable' avalanche ratings?  How can I apply the NWAC forecast to the slope I want to ski?  How deep is a 'deep instability,' anyway?  
If you've ever asked yourself these questions  or any others about NWAC, come join us for an evening with our forecasters, field observers, and staff to hear how it all works.  
The first half of the evening will be a lecture focusing on how to make the most of the new NWAC avalanche forecast. The second half will be a casual question-and-answer session.  Please bring any and all questions about NWAC forecasts; how to use the forecasts; and questions about avalanches themselves.  
*Join us after the workshop for drinks and socializing. Each admission includes a beer ticket.
Other Details: This evening is geared towards to people who have some backcountry experience to those who are seasoned backcountry travelers. Skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and snowmobilers who are looking to improve their decision making skills are encouraged to attend.
Session #2: Recreate Like a Pro: Using a Systems Analysis Approach to Make Better Backcountry Decisions
When: Thursday, November 19th Doors at 5:30, Session begins promptly at 5:30pm and ends at 9pm
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)

If you’ve taken an avalanche class in the past decade, you’re well aware that human factors lead to over 90 percent of all avalanche accidents. So, what’s the answer and how can we better manage these “factors”? When professionals who study decision-making are asked this question, their answers are often similar: we need to take a systems analysis approach to the mountains. Join NWAC as we invite Lynne Wolfe to share her years of insights using a systems approach to staying safe in the backcountry. The first half of the evening, Lynne will focus on how to translate professional systems into tools for the recreationist; the second half will be an interactive session learning to apply some of these tricks and tips to your own practice.

Lynne Wolfe juggles winter work as the editor of The Avalanche Review with teaching avalanche classes for Yostmark Backcountry Tours and the American Avalanche Institute and ski guiding for Teton Backcountry Guides. During the summer she'd rather be riding her mountain bike, but still guides for Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Teton National Park. She drinks black coffee and Kentucky bourbon, and will accept dark chocolate from anyone. She lives on the west side of the Tetons with her husband Dan Powers and retired backcountry canine Chili-dog.

Session #3: Does Green Mean Go and Red Mean Stop? How to Apply the Avalanche Danger Scale to Slope Specific Decision Making
When: Thursday, December 17th Doors at 5:30, Session begins promptly at 5:30pm and ends at 9pm
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)

The North American Avalanche Danger Scale is a tool used by avalanche forecasters to communicate the potential for avalanches to cause harm or injury to backcountry travelers on a given day. However, there’s a problem with the ratings—they’re not slope specific. Instead, they cover broad areas in general terms, and it’s up to you to understand and assess conditions on the slopes you plan to ride. With Simon Trautman’s expertise, we’ll explore the ‘ins and outs’ of the danger scale and discuss how we can better use the daily forecast to recreate in the backcountry.

Simon Trautman worked as an avalanche forecaster in Montana, Idaho, and Colorado. He is currently employed by the US Forest Service and holds the somewhat dramatic, abstruse, and esoteric title of ‘National Avalanche Specialist’. He lives in Bellingham and can’t wait for winter.