On multi-day ski tours and avalanche courses, we learn and experience a ton.
Groups are living and traveling at altitude, climbing and touring in alpine terrain, experiencing mountain weather and winter conditions, developing and practicing rescue/decision-making/avalanche hazard and risk analysis skills. They're exposed to difficult routes, wrestle with complex navigational choices and (hopefully) catch some pretty decent turns along the way!
It's A LOT. And it's usually a very powerful experience for most participants.
For me, it's always an honor to complete another safe and successful trip and I try to leave my new friends with some ideas and inspiration when they're still fresh from the field. Here's my most often shared pieces of post-course wisdom:
We were born to hunt- remember that- powder can be your chosen prey
No matter what race, religion, color or country you are from, we ALL derived from simpler peoples. Tribes of humans much more connected to each other and the natural world. Tap into the wisdom of natural systems and cycles, embrace the symbiosis modeled by our ancestors, and you'll have a long career in the backcountry.
Your two legs are the best season pass you'll ever own.
Everyone chill- It's all downhill under the influence of gravity
Practice, practice, practice your rescue, medical and survival skills.
They are the most valuable piece of gear you have.
Your training is only the beginning. You have only just begun. Never stop learning!
There's no such thing as too many hours in the backcountry.
Nothing good ever happens around geology or vegetation.
Cultivate and exploit your home turf advantage.
If you grow a solid crew of partners you trust, you will harvest success
Communicate. Then communicate again
Listen to your mountain sense.
Be sure to hear from and listen to all voices- Be a strong advocate for yourself and others.
Every day is a Backcountry Day
Conduct daily weather obs.
Track trends over time.
Follow the story of the winter each day via the CAIC
(or your local avalanche forecast center)
Stay safe, smile often, eat well, shred hard
Embrace everyday in this beautiful world as a gift.
There's no such thing as a free lunch
Mother Nature always bats last- There's no extra innings in this game.