This weekend is Avalanche Awareness Days and HeliCat Canada is reminding everyone about the importance of safety in the backcountry.
While it’s tempting to head into the backcountry on your own to find an epic line, with limited training it might be a better choice to head out with an experienced operation.
Helicopter and snowcat skiing operations around Western Canada are staffed with guides who have extensive avalanche training and decades of backcountry experience. Not only are guides highly trained, but guests are required to go through avalanche training before stepping foot in a helicopter or cat.
Nancy Geismar, Education and Outreach Coordinator at Avalanche Canada, says training saves lives.
“There is minimal time to react if someone does get buried and it’s imperative that the group know self-rescue skills,” she says. “Also with training, people can avoid suspect avalanche terrain to begin with, as they have learned to recognize terrain and how to use the Avalanche Forecast and ATES ratings.”
Confidence in your guides
Geismar explains the importance of having confidence in the group you’re heading out with, that everyone has training, gear and enough knowledge to understand the avalanche forecast.
Having experienced helicopter and snowcat guides choosing your terrain significantly increases confidence in safety. In A day in the life of a Canadian ski guide, we learned the run list for the day isn’t determined until there’s a full review of snow conditions, weather reports and avalanche risk.
As Geismar puts it, “the goal is to continue to have fun in the backcountry, but have the knowledge to do it safely.”
HeliCat Canada represents 30 operations who are committed to ensuring guests have a safe and enjoyable experience in the backcountry.
For the latest Avalanche conditions report and more information on Avalanche Awareness Days, visit the Avalanche Canada website.