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SJMG Rec Level One- 2019

Congratulations on completing your SJMG 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 SJMG Level One Graduates:

IMPORTANT Organizations/Websites

American Avalanche Association

Know Before You Go

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Silverton Avalanche School

American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education





International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR)

Mountain Safety Project

Mountain Rescue Association

Friends of the San Juans

The Avalanche Hour Podcast

SLIDE-The Avalanche Podcast

Ack's Blog

Sheldon Kerr

Coop's WildSnow Page


San Juan Mountain Guides

Red Mountain Alpine Lodge

Educational Resources



The Avalanche Encyclopedia

Avalanche Safety Tutorial

AIARE Video Library



Manuel Genswain Level One Training Resources


Companion Rescue

Safety Equipment and Rescue Training Videos

Avalanche Transceiver User Manuals- All Makes & Models!

The impact of electronics on avalanche transceivers- research paper

3 function check

Transceiver Basics

Select Case Studies and Videos- (Caution, these can be powerful & graphic)


Tunnel Creek Case Study

Rabbit Ears Case Study

550 Slide Case Study

Cherry Bowl Case Study

SAMs Slide Case Study

SAMs Slide Video



Birthday Chutes Video

A Dozen More Turns

Avalanche Videos-Select Favorites


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