Winter Activities: Banff training course gives you tools to avoid, deal with avalanches in Canadian Rockies

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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We’ve been talking for the past few weeks about winter activities in the Canadian Rockies. The snow covering the vast beauty of this land provides all kinds of entertainment possibilities. Unfortunately, it also carries its share of hazards.

One of the primary hazards is an avalanche.

However, you can take a survival skills training course that will give you the tools to recognize the danger of an avalanche and show you what to do to avoid it.

The course instructor is Rod Plasman, who’s been a leader with the Alpine Club of Canada for the past 20 years. Mr. Plasman got his CAA SKi Operations Level 1 certification in 2007 and has taught many courses in avalanche education since his certification. He also has led a lot of ski camps and trips in Banff National Park and its surrounding areas.

What will you learn on the course? Plenty:

– You’ll learn how avalanches are formed and what triggers their release.

– You’ll be able to spot terrain that could spawn avalanches.

– You’ll learn how to plan and coordinate a trip.

– You’ll be shown how the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale where Avalanche Danger Ratings and bulletins are available. You’ll also be taught the resources to use to find them on trips where they are not available.

– You’ll learn techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain.

– You’ll carry out the rescue of a companion.

– Last but not least, you’ll learn the limits of this basic course, and you’ll be given the opportunity to continue on to a level 2 training course, if you so desire.

We hope, of course, that none of this training is ever necessary. Our certified tour guides and personnel are always very careful to monitor avalanche activity. But avalanches are a danger. After taking this course, you should at least have basic knowledge that will help you to minimize that danger. We think it’s therefore a most valuable tool, in the interests of having a safe and fun-filled experience here in the Canadian Rockies.

For more information about the course or our other tour offerings, please call 1-877-565-9372.

For more about Jasper National Park, click here.

For more about Canmore and Kananaskis County, click here.

For more about Lake Louise, click here.

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