NEW AVALANCHE CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM FOR PROFFESSIONAL SKI/SNOWBOARD GUIDES AND PATROLLERS FROM SILVERTON MOUNTAIN GUIDES
Silverton, Colo., Feb 19, 2015 — Building upon the highly successful Practical Protocols for Snow Professionals/Steep Life Workshop that was provided by Silverton Mountain Guides in January 2015, Silverton Mountain Guides is introducing a new level of avalanche certification and training for experienced Ski/Snowboard Guides and Patrollers April 25-27, 2015 in Palmer, AK, at the Silverton Mountain Guides Alaska headquarters.
The traditional Avalanche Level 2 and 3 training curriculum simply has not kept up with the growth of guiding and patrolling in bigger mountains, expert terrain expansions and increased access to the mountains. With the recent string of ski patroller and ski guide accidents, Silverton Mountain Guides continues to re-evaluate the way avalanche training, snow safety, guiding, patrolling, avalanche control, and mountain work is being taught.
In an effort to improve upon the existing Avalanche course curriculum framework and continue the evolution of mountain education, Silverton Mountain Guides has added an all new Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals Program (AAOP). This new avalanche certification is equivalent to an Avalanche Level 3, but more applicable to working Ski Patrol and Downhill Ski/Snowboard Guides that aspire to be a Lead Guide or Snow Safety Manager.
The AAOP program builds upon the foundation laid out during the initial Practical Protocols for Snow Professionals/Steep Life Workshop’s Steep Terrain Protocol Training by adding additional training modules, testing, and requiring continuing education to maintain the Avalanche Certificate.
Traditional Avalanche Level 3 training has historically had a very wide focus in order to cover the entire avalanche profession and forecasting industry. However, by using a shotgun approach, it has left many professional ski guides and patrollers wondering if an Avalanche Level 3 class and certificate will leave them with much more than a big hit to their wallet. The old Avalanche Level 3 process has traditionally been more focused on snow science data fields and geared towards regional avalanche forecasters and less applicable to those who run ski patrol and downhill ski guide operations (the people who manage the risks for their staff and guests).
The AAOP program follows the philosophy that guides need to spend time patrolling in order to see and learn from avalanches in action, and patrollers need to spend time guiding to develop their snow assessments without use of explosives.
In general, advanced avalanche coursework has become prohibitively expensive and time consuming making it less desirable for those already within the professional path. Avalanche and guide education has become an industry of its own and at times appears to be focused on dollars as much as the education provided (with a Level 2 and 3 class costing a combined $2,100 or more). Silverton Mountain Guides has split the process into cost effective modules, allowing more professionals to partake in the process.
By attending the full AAOP program attendees will:
•Gain a better understanding of how to read mountains,
•Learn to skillfully recognize hazards,
•Develop a thought process for working larger lines in steeper terrain, and
•Understand the ins and outs of avalanche forecasting, weather, managing complex rescues, patrol/guide management and training, risk management, and advanced avalanche blasting.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PLEASE REFER TO ATTACHED PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals Certification
This avalanche certification process for ski guides and patrollers requires three completed modules with passing grades to get an Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals (AAOP) certificate. The AAOP certificate additionally requires two forms of continuing education every three years to keep the certificate active or it expires. Prerequisites for entry into the AAOP program are 2,000 hours of professional ski/snowboard guiding, or 2,000 hours of patrolling at a Class A avalanche area, and a recommendation from a Patrol Director or Lead Guide. The AAOP certificate is equivalent to an Avalanche Level 3, but more applicable to working Ski Patrol and Downhill Ski/Snowboard Guides.
Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals Program:
Practical Protocols for Professionals Workshop attendance January 24-26, 2015 in Silverton, Colorado. Passing grade on PPPW curriculum is required to move to Module 2. 30 Hours. Price: $275 for class sessions; $525 includes helicopter operations instruction with optional two helicopter drops included.
Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals Workshop attendance April 25-27, 2015 in Palmer, Alaska. Topics covered include: avalanche forecasting, weather, managing complex rescues, patrol/guide management and training, risk management, and advanced avalanche blasting concepts. Passing grade on AAOP is required to move to Module 3. 30 Hours. Price: $275 for class sessions; $525 includes one optional helicopter drop.
Attendance at a recent International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW). The Next ISSW is in Breckenridge, CO, October 3-7, 2016.
Required Continuing Education:
The Advanced Avalanche Operations for Snow Professionals certificate will expire 3 years after completion, unless continuing education is properly documented on the certificate. The certificate holder is required to complete two of the approved forms of continuing education every three years, and must select from and complete all three types of approved forms of continuing education every 6 years.
Approved forms of continuing education include:
1)Conducting avalanche blasting at a Class A ski area for 40 hours (as pro patroller or volunteer), and signing up for Avalanche Review or AAA membership with Avalanche Review.
2)Conducting professional ski guiding in advanced avalanche terrain (as lead or shadowing guide) for 40 hours, and signing up for Avalanche Review or AAA membership with Avalanche Review.
3)Attendance at additional ISSW’s.
Continuing education field work documentation must be signed by a patrol director or lead guide. Documentation is required for ISSW and Avalanche Review.