menu

Going Deep: A Series of Backcountry Decision Making Workshops

Image Image Image

 

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 #0: Winter is Coming: An evening with the forecasters, snow observers, and educators of the Northwest Avalanche Center
 
When: Monday, November 13th, 6:30-8:30
Where: The Mountain Shop, 1510 NE 37th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
Cost: By donation (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 long should I wait after a storm before I ski? If you've ever asked yourself these questions – or any others about avalanches–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 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 #1: Winter is Coming: An evening with the forecasters, snow observers, and educators of the Northwest Avalanche Center
 
When: Thursday, November 16th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 REI Members/$20 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: Available soon at REI.com/events
 
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 long should I wait after a storm before I ski? If you've ever asked yourself these questions – or any others about avalanches–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 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: Avalanche Terrain: Hard earned lessons with Seattle Mountain Rescue 

When: Thursday, December 14th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 REI Members/$20 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: Available soon at REI.com/events
 
Summary: Choosing where to go is part of the joy of the mountains. But in avalanche terrain, choosing where to go is also a critical means of reducing your risk. Join us for an evening with Bree Loewen, Seattle Mountain Rescue board member and author of Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue. Bree and fellow SMR volunteers will share hard-earned lessons from real life wintertime rescues in the Cascades. By examining the process by which we select slopes to hike, climb, or ski, we can improve our odds of enjoying a safe day out in the mountains. This session will include some tips for reading maps, as well as interactive trip planning activities. 
---

Session #3: What happens after they dig me out?

When: Thursday, January 11th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 REI Members/$20 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: Available soon at REI.com/events
 
Summary: A successful companion rescue is only the beginning of a very long day. Even with the best gear, getting an injured person out of the backcountry is difficult and exhausting. In this clinic you will learn and practice techniques for improvised patient care and transport in the winter backcountry. You’ll come away with a better understanding of what tools you should carry, and how to use them if the worst occurs. Bring your typical backcountry touring pack and any emergency gear you may carry that could be useful for improvising a sled or stabilizing a patient. This workshop is presented by Gabriel Webster, flight medic with King County Sherriff’s Air Support Unit and member of Seattle Mountain Rescue medical committee. 
---

Session #4: Learning from near misses: a workshop for anyone who makes mistakes

When: Thursday, February 8th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 REI Members/$20 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: Available soon at REI.com/events
 
Summary: If you spend enough time in the backcountry, the odds are that sooner later you will come uncomfortably close to disaster. Many longtime mountain professionals refer to near-misses as “free lessons.” In this workshop, we’ll look at both sides of that proposition: how do we extract the lessons without being caught up in guilt and shame, and how do we understand the cost of these experiences to us emotionally and socially? You’ll come away with concrete tools with which to process these difficult but important experiences, and find ways to benefit yourself, your partners, and your community by sharing those experiences. This workshop is presented by Josh Cole, whose risk management career has included program direction at Outward Bound as well as his current role guiding for North Cascades Mountain Guides.

---

Session #5: Making the Transition from Winter to Spring:  How to plan multiday tours without an avalanche forecast

When: Thursday, April 12th, Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm.
Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 REI Members/$20 non-members (ticket money goes to NWAC)
Tickets: Available soon at REI.com/events
 
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 of?

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 avalanche experts and educators.