Avalanche Canada Throttle Decisions Video
There are two types of mountain sledders on this planet: those who choose to educate themselves about avalanches, and those who don’t. Why anyone would choose not to is beyond me, but hey, it’s your world, I’m just living in it.
If you sled in the mountains, you are also making the choice to expose yourself to certain risks; there is no way to completely remove those risks, but you can reduce them by arming yourself with knowledge and gear. Having the gear and no knowledge is useless, and vice versa, but thankfully, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a sled specific avalanche course these days.
Something that is of growing concern is the notion of taking an AST 1 and assuming you have graduated from Avalanche University; you couldn’t be any more wrong. In my opinion, AST 1 gives you enough information to realize that your lifelong journey with avalanche education has just begun; Yes, you have been taught how to gather data, but do you know how to apply that data to the terrain you want to ride? Kinda. Sorta. Maybe. Three words that shouldn’t be associated with avalanche risk assessment. Putting time in on the snow is the only way to gain the experience you need to use the tools you learned in a course to the best of your ability.
The best way to gain knowledge after you have taken your AST 1 is to surround yourself with riders that have more experience; watch them move through different types of terrain, listen to what they have to say, ask questions, be humble, or mother nature will serve up a slice of humble pie.
If for some incredibly ignorant reason, you feel you don’t need to educate yourself about avalanches, ask someone that has survived and avalanche, or dug their best friends dead body out of one.
Avalanche Canada has been making moves in the snowmobile industry by creating sled specific instructional videos Throttle Decisions to aid the education process. Based on and incorporated into recreational Canadian AST-1 avalanche courses, the series is divided into eight chapters. They are: Gear, Forecast, Safe Travel, Weather, Snowpack, Terrain, Hazard Evaluation, and Rescue. Watch the full Throttle Decisions series on the Avalanche Canada Vimeo channel.
Also on http://www.avalanche.ca/map you will find current avalanche conditions for most well traveled areas in BC and Alberta, as well as other important data paramount in making safe decisions in the backcountry.