Avalanche News

avalanchedick-hardingDick Harding, Avalanche Program Director
January 8, 2016

Ski season 2015-16 is the GVR Level II year; we will not be offering an introductory avalanche course this ski season.  NSP Level I course offerings are posted on the Eastern Division website. As the courses must be offered in avalanche terrain, they generally are offered in Vermont or New Hampshire (Whiteface Mountain here in New York or in Tuckerman’s Ravine in the Shadow of Mount Washington in New Hampshire). Course length is generally three days with a combination of classroom and field work. Patrollers who have completed the Level 1 classroom module we teach are eligible to enroll in a full Level I course and with the permission of the instructor only required to take the field work part of the course. Check the Eastern Division website for course locations and instructor information.

Not up to taking a course but interested in steady information on avalanches (occurrences, equipment, statistics etc.), I recommend that you subscribe to Avalanche Review. This is a newsletter published by the American Avalanche Association with timely and informative articles on avalanche awareness, forecasting techniques, hazards evaluations, control techniques, educational opportunities, news of AAA, avalanche professionals and the world avalanche industry. I find the articles interesting and thought provoking. This newsletter is included in a yearly Member Affiliate membership; cost is $45 per year. Information on becoming a member can be found at www.americanavalancheassociation.org. For those of you unfamiliar with AAA, they are responsible for the curriculum that is used by NSP in its avalanche courses.

Lastly repeating my appeal from last summer’s article, 10 years ago we had depth in our avalanche instructors. That is no longer the case. Our cadre of instructors has “matured” and we are in need of a new younger group of patrollers to step up and volunteer to teach. Our instructors of record for this past winter were myself, Nick Schiavetti, Marcia Mundrick, Bob Andre, and Jim Hopkins). Requirements include completion of a Level II avalanche course (or National Avalanche School) and the NSP instructor course. I know this is a big commitment for those of us who do not live in avalanche terrain, but the subject matter is fascinating any very relevant if you like to ski big mountains out west or in Europe. This stuff can literally save your life and the lives of friends and family that ski with you on big mountains. If you have questions about this opportunity please contact me at rharding@buffalo.edu or by phone at (716) 949-0205.

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