SAS Rec Level One- 2019
Congratulations on completing your Level One Rec Course.
I hope your experience this past weekend serves as a solid foundation upon which you will build a brilliant life in the alpine.
But remember, this is only the beginning of your journey in the backcountry!
Some Post-Course thoughts to consider:
On multi-day ski tours and avalanche courses, we learn and experience a ton.
Students 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 Level One and I try to leave my new friends with some ideas and inspiration when they're still fresh from the field.
Humans were born to hunt-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 individuals that were much more connected to each other and the natural world. Tap into the wisdom of living 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 pieces of gear you have with you.
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.
It takes all to go, and just one to no
Nothing in the backcountry that happens quickly is ever good
The ego is not your amigo
Every day is a Backcountry Day- Get out there 365 days a year!
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)
There's no such thing as a free lunch
Mother Nature always bats last- There's no extra innings in this game.
Stay safe, smile often, eat well, shred hard
There's over 7 billion humans on this spinning chunk of geology- We are incredibly blessed to be in a small minority of folks, lucky enough to experience joy and bliss in mountains- Embrace everyday of this adventure as a gift.
In the want to support your ongoing avalanche education journey, I’ve assembled some very important materials below. There are so many great articles, videos, case studies and websites out there and I’d love to hear about new ones you discover! Check back often as I'm continually refining these selections.
Here are just a few of my favorite resources that I recommend for SAS Level One Graduates:
American Avalanche Association
Colorado Avalanche Information Center
American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR)
Manuel Genswain Level One Training Resources
Safety Equipment and Rescue Training Videos
Avalanche Transceiver User Manuals- All Makes & Models!
The impact of electronics on avalanche transceivers- excellent research!
3 function check
Select Case Studies and Videos- (Caution, these can be powerful & graphic)
SAMs Slide Video
Birthday Chutes Video
A Dozen More Turns
Avalanche Videos-Select Favorites
FOR ALL OUR NORTHERN NEW MEXICO FRIENDS:
Northern New Mexico Avalanche Exchange
Since no avalanche forecast center exists for New Mexico this is a good place to share observations and network with other backcountry users.
Taos Powderhorn Snotel located near the top of Al's Run at Taos Ski Valley
Santa Fe Snotel located on the treed ridgeline of Big Tesuque
Wunderground weather station with live update of wind and temperature at Ski Santa Fe Base Area (on a tower for the Sierra Double Chair)