It's late October and the mountains are starting to see their first snowfall. Ski areas are boasting of their first snow (and snowmaking), and many avalanche centers across the country are sending reminders about their local avalanche workshop—knowing all too well that big snows in autumn can be the beginnings of troublesome layers during the winter. Luckily, and with the rise in backcountry skiing popularity, avalanche education is readily available. Below are some resources–be it books, webinars, or a list of avalanche centers across the country that offer classes and fall workshops. No matter how experienced you are, refreshing your knowledge is invaluable, and if you're a newbie, there is no better time to start learning.
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain
Bruce Tremper was the Director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center for almost 30 years. Though he retired in 2015, his book, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, is essential reading for all backcountry users. Even for those who have already taken a Level 1, it’s the perfect pre-season refresher, and is often part of the curriculum for advanced classes.
Salomon Mountain Academy
$29 per course
Salomon's Mountain Academy exists to educate consumers after their gear purchase and encourage and prepare them to take a course. Indeed, it is not designed as a substitute for a Level 1 avalanche class. The first of two courses is free for those who purchased MTN Collection gear, but is also available as a resource for those who aren't buying new equipment, via the website. Each course [I – Snow Safety Essentials, and II – Deeper Into The Backcountry] are $29 per course and consist of several lessons and videos, along with practice questions. Salomon also directs proceeds to local avalanche forecasting centers in the community where consumers bought the products.
Backcountry Access: The Five Backcountry Basics Video Tutorials
Similarly to the Mountain Academy, Backcountry Access' videos aren't replacements for any structured course. However, if you find yourself perusing the internet and are in need of some basic avalanche education before your class then it's a good place to start. The videos are centered around the following topics: Get the Gear, Training, Forecast, Picture, and Out of Harm's Way. Click here to view.
California Avalanche Workshop: October 20, 2018. North Tahoe, California
Powder Blast: October 26, 2018. Bozeman, Montana
Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop: October 27, 2018. Jackson, Wyoming
Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop: October 27, 2018. Sandy, Utah
Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop: October 27, 2018. Seattle, Washington
Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop: November 3, 2018. Freyburg, Maine