menu

Going Deep: A Series of Backcountry Decision Making Workshops

msr_color_logo.jpg Eddie Bauer logo.png unnamed.png

 

Presented by Mountain Safety Research, Eddie Bauer, and REI

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, November 10th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: here
 
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.  
 
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: Snowshoeing and Avalanche Risk: What Every Snowshoer Needs to Know Before Venturing Onto the Winter Trails

When: Thursday, December 8th, Doors at 5:00, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Ticketshere
 
Summary: Snowshoeing is the wintertime equivalent to summer hiking–or is it? Heading out on your favorite trail with snowshoes on your feet may seem like a good idea, but the conditions may not warrant safe travel. If you've ever sat in an avalanche class and thought to yourself, "that's not me" as a skier tackles a 40 degree slope whilst triggering a slide – this class is for you. We know that backcountry users approach terrain in a manner appropriate for their equipment, and that equipment affects how they interact with the environment and their partners. A one-size-fits-all approach to avalanche education works for basic knowledge, but often misses some key details for snowshoeing. This workshop is designed to give snowshoers the proper tools to assess conditions before heading out along with some strategies to consider while in the terrain – specific to snowshoeing. We'll also discuss how to identify non-avalanche terrain for those occasions when you want to totally eliminate avalanche risk from your snowshoe experience.

This class will be taught by NWAC avalanche experts and educators.

Other Details: This evening is geared towards to people who have some backcountry experience to those who are seasoned backcountry travelers and is targeted to those who snowshoe.

---

Session #3: A Voice and a Veto: Effective teamwork and communication for backcountry travelers
 
When: Thursday, January 12th, Doors at 5:00, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Ticketshere
 
Summary: Enjoying the backcountry is a social affair for most of us–spending the day with friends can be one of our biggest motivations for getting out. But how can our choice of partner effect our risk? And how do we "get on the same page" with our group? Over the last ten years, the role of so-called human factors and heuristic traps in avalanche incidents has emerged as a central topic of research and education in the field. In this workshop, we'll introduce some concrete practices and strategies that can help you and your backcountry partners communicate better, maximizing fun and minimizing risk. NWAC staff will be joined by Steve Smith of Experiential Consulting, a Seattle-based business that helps outdoor organizations manage risk. 
 

Other Details: This evening is geared towards to people who have some backcountry experience to those who are seasoned backcountry travelers.

---

Session #4: Biases, Shortcuts, and Uncertain Outcomes:  Training Your Brain to Make Better Decisions in the Backcountry

When: Thursday, Feburary 9th, Doors at 5:00, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Ticketshere
 
Summary: Human factors are all the rage right now; we hear about them in conversations about risk and reward in the backcountry, and they have become part of the common parlance in avalanche education.  They can magnify our risk exposure, blind us to consequences, and seemingly sideswipe the best-laid plans for good decision-making.  The goal of this session is to look in more detail at how we think:  what can we learn from the perspectives of psychology?  How do our biases shape our behavior in the key moments when we decide to drop in? ...And what can we do about it?

This class will be taught by Matt Schonwald, Owner of Backcountry Adventure Guidess,  AMGA Certified Ski Guide 

Other Details: This evening is geared towards to people who have some backcountry experience to those who are seasoned backcountry travelers.

---

Session #5: Making the Transition from Winter to Spring: How to Plan Big Lines and Multiday Tours Without a Daily NWAC Avalanche Forecast 

When: Thursday, April 13th, Doors at 5:00, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $10 REI Members/$15 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Ticketshere
 
Summary: Spring is here!  And with that comes better weather and longer days – a perfect recipe for big objectives and multiday tours.  You’ve had your avalanche class and have been out riding in the backcountry this past winter.  At some point every April, NWAC shifts out of daily forecast operations leaving the spring traveler without the valuable tool of a daily avalanche forecast.  So, what happens when there’s no avalanche advisory to go off?

Most modern avalanche education uses a regional avalanche forecast as the building block for tour planning and snow stability.  Without that daily forecast, it can be unnerving to figure out when and where to go.  This evening’s Going Deep lecture is aimed at equipping people with tools to evaluate conditions leading to good decisions in the backcountry.  We’ll focus on how to plan and execute a tour without the help of an NWAC avalanche forecast.  You’ll also learn tips and tricks on how to time your tour with the weather along with gaining an understanding what to look for in the spring snowpack so you don’t get caught in the shed cycle.

This class will be taught by NWAC forecaters and staff.

Other Details: This evening is geared towards to people who have some backcountry experience to those who are seasoned backcountry travelers.