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Avalanche classes, which have you completed
Level 1 63%  63%  [ 25 ]
Level 2 20%  20%  [ 8 ]
Level 3 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
All of the above 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
None of the above 15%  15%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 40
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 Post subject: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 2:39 pm
Posts: 475
Location: Where the kids go to retire
Just curious what everyone has done out there for avy classes. I'm looking to get into an L1 class early this year. Do most people take L1, go out and apply their newfound skills, than progress up to L2 or L3, or maybe take L1 every few years as a refresher or ??


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am
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Location: California
I think you'll find that most folks here have taken an Avy 1 class and very few have taken Avy II. Avy II is for professional avy folk/patrol/etc. and we're mainly just riders. I obviously don't know a lot of peoples backgrounds but from the ones that I due only Tex has done Avy II, but he was stoned the whole time. :guinness:


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Seattle
Only taken Level I, but want to take a Level II course this winter if possible. Level I curriculum is really all you need, but if you're more interested in the science behind avalanches, and getting into deeper detail about snow goes through rounding or faceting, look into Level II.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:12 pm
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Location: Now Oaktowntastic
I think most people are pretty happy going out there with level 1. I would advise taking an interest in the topic and studying up on it as much as possible. Bruce Tremper's 'Staying Alive in Avalance Terrain' is a good read. 'Snowy Torrents' will make you really paranoid, which is probably good. I tried to take level 2 last year, but the class filled up on me. I'll try again this year. I make a point of increasing my backcountry knowledge ever year by taking some kind of class, reading, following people around... I view it as an ongoing process.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am
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Location: California
If you want to be really avy aware tour with Storn a few times. :thumpsup:


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 213
Location: Lumby
i am taking the ast 1 in november. last year i got by with daily reading of the avy bulletin and basically only riding a 25degree slope near my home (while i taught my girlfriend to snowboard). i have also read books by tony daffern, and done the avalanche.ca online training, but i'm glad i can finally take a proper course instead of all this self study.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:15 pm
Posts: 28
Location: PDX
I took a course in 2000 as part of training for Mt. Hood Ski Patrol. Not sure if it would qualify as Level I. Took two days, some classroom time, reading of previously mentioned books, and some pit digging. I think some guys from Portland Mountain Rescue were leading, but can't be sure. Turns out I wasn't much of a patroller (loved the training, not so much hauling intoxicated twenty-somethings with concussions out of the park. No offense young bucks, but demographically, there seemed to be a recurring theme.)
That was a while ago, so now I am looking to take a L1 course this winter. Any other Mt. Hood area splitters interested? I think with 6 people we can set up a class when we want. There are a couple of local groups that can certify. Or any local knowledge/reviews of available classes would be appreciated.
Got a glimpse of Hoodie with a fresh dusting of snow on Wed. Looked soooo good to see all the dirt covered.

Added on Feb. 12, 2009,
Wanted a refresher, plus practice on some navigation/routefinding and snow shelters. Signed up for a Mazamas' (Venerable Portland Climbing club) Ski Mountaineering Course. While not an "official" Level 1 course, the time expended on lecture and field work is the same. Also, there is additional practical experience on the three tours that finish the course. I am very satisfied and feel good about my snowpack evaluation and beacon search skills. :thumpsup: So, any Portland area riders interested in a fun course check the Mazama's website. They only do one class per year, sign-up is limited, and it fills up fast.

I guess I should mention the slight negatives. Very skier oriented (Telly and AT) and open disdain for "knuckle-draggers" is not necessarily frowned upon. Many more "cool" folks than "others", just be prepared to be the only splitter. :doobie:

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:19 pm
Posts: 453
Location: N. VT & Central Wasatch
took level 1 w/ AAI out of jackson at Alta in '05. mark and rod were great, best mentors i could have asked for... tons of experience and insight. highly recommended. even got to ride the lifts at Alta w/ our splits to access sunset/rocky point, and didn't get the runaround. usually have to access via brighton or grizzly via patsey and wolverine.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:45 pm
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I took my level I & II with MAS in CA. Both excellent courses. The level II really allowed me to geek out and now I feel much more confident on remote trips to areas outside my local slopes. I encourage all my backcountry partners to attend a level I.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:19 am
Posts: 126
Location: Japan
I ve done a ARAC course (Advanced Recreational Avalanche Course) here in Japan but I am not quite sure whats the US equivalent. It was a 5 day course digging pits and looking into scenarios. From what I see in the AIARE page I think its the level 2.
I wanna do the CCA Level 1 next year.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 am
Posts: 580
Location: Oregon
I took an AST Level 1 course a few years ago with Mountain Savvy in Oregon. I'd like to take a level 2 if I could find one locally........

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am
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Location: Bozeman, MT
I took level I courses in 2005 and am taking them again this week.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche classes you've completed
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:09 pm
Posts: 682
Location: white room
I would say as a general rule you do not need an avy2 unless you have some aspirations to guide or patrol. The focus turns a little more towards graphing pit profiles and forecasting, versus reading the terrain, rescue techniques, and understanding snowpack in level 1. That being said, you can never know enough.
I started my education in CO, first taking some one or two day classes (no certifications) and then digging countless pits, and comparing what I saw with what was reported on the daily avy forecast. When I moved to CA, I figured it would be a good time to take a level 1, especially since I was in a place with an entirely different snowpack. While it was good for reinforcing what I had already learned, I also discovered CA is not the ideal place to learn anything about snowpits. Repeatedly, we'd dig several feet down and find everything was cohesive, solid, stable layers (one of the reasons I moved here).
When I thought I wanted to pursue guiding, I took some more classes in AK (level 1 twice), and then a level 2 in CO. I went to CO figuring there was more to see in the snowpack there versus CA. But I actually learned more in the level 1 class in AK than the level 2 in CO. So I think a lot has to do with the instructor you have, as well as how much you can learn from the current conditions.
I think the main things to focus on are knowing the snowpack intimately in your local area, by doing lots of digging and keeping track of daily reports from your local avy center. Also, routefinding and avoiding hazards and terrain traps, as well as knowing what to do if you do find a buried partner (how to dig, first aid, etc.) A lot of emphasis is put on beacons, but if you need to use a beacon you've already messed up, and then you are possibly just doing body recovery or have some trauma to deal with, so learn to not get into that situation and how to deal if you are.

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