Going Deep Workshops

A Series of Backcountry Decision Making Workshops


All workshops are sponsored by MSR 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 your day out 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.

Participants should have taken, at a minimum, a Level 1 avalanche course. The workshops are geared towards individuals that have years of backcountry experience, have made mistakes, and want to learn how to better mitigate and understand their risk traveling in the backcountry during winter.

Where: REI Seattle
Cost: $15 for REI members, $35 for non-members


Session 1:

Winter is Coming: An Evening with the Forecasters, Snow Observers, and Educators of the Northwest Avalanche Center

Thursday, November 15th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm             
**Tuesday, November 13th, Portland Mountain Shop
**Wednesday, January 23rd, Bellingham WWU Campus

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.

**Non-Seattle Locations

Register here: Going Deep - Evening with NWAC (Seattle)

Register here: Going Deep - Evening with NWAC (Bellingham)


Session 2: 

Stories and Lessons Learned from Brushes with Avalanches

When: Thursday, December 13th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm

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.” Join a panel of industry professionals and learn from their free lessons. Panelists will share reflections of near escapes and their main take-aways from these encounters. How would they have traveled differently? Would they have spoken up, rather than remain silent? Did they do “everything right” and still got caught? The reflections will be followed by a period where the audience can ask follow-up questions and gain insights from their experiences.

Register here: Going Deep - Near Miss


Session 3: 

Uncertainty and Confidence in the Backcountry: How to Engage with Your Partners to Stay Safe

When: Thursday, January 10th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm – 8:30pm

If we enter the backcountry enough, we will run into situations where we will question ourselves, our partners, or the natural world. This is an experiential course that will increase your self-awareness, give you skills to practice, and open up greater potential to be in productive conversations with partners and friends during backcountry ski experiences.

Register here: Going Deep - Communication

**limited spaces available


Session 4: 

Mountain Weather Forecast: How weather defines and dictates the snowpack

When: Thursday, February 21st, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm

This workshop is going to delve into how to apply mountain weather forecasts to trip planning, and terrain selection. We will also discuss how to prioritize information in the field, improve decision-making, and successfully execute tours.

Register here: Going Deep - Mountain Weather Forecasts


Session 5: 

Making the Transition from Winter to Spring: How to Plan Multiday Tours Without an Avalanche Forecast

When: Thursday, April 11th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm

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.

Register Here: Going Deep - Transitioning from Winter to Spring