Winter Mountain Safety!

Did you know that different levels of Avalanche Skills Training courses are offered ongoing in Alberta during the winter season through a number of different educators? These AST (for short) courses are for those of us interested in all kinds of winter mountain activities, including but not limited to: nordic skiing, back country skiing, tobogganing, hiking, ice climbing, snowmobiling. Winter mountain travel comes with hazards, and it is crucial to do so safely + knowledgeably.

Meet Diana + Lisa:  vibrant and amazing members of our Hike365 community who recently completed their AST1 General training together, geared for hikers and snowshoers! We recently went for a xc ski up to Lake O’Hara and chatted a little bit about winter mountain safety + their experiences in taking the course.

Where/how did you hear about Hike365?

Diana: -“I found the community via Instagram through my friend AV over at North Birch Grove

Lisa: -“I came across Hike365 through #hike365 which lead me to the Instagram account!”

Who did you take your AST1 General course with:

D+L: -“Mountain Skills Academy

D: -“There was first a classroom day in Canmore and then a field day at Buller Pass in Kananaskis which helped put the classroom information to use hands on.  When you complete a course through MSA you can purchase avy gear direct from them for a great deal!”

How did the Hike365 community inspire you to take your AST1 Course?

D: -“Hike365 got me seriously thinking about all the winter activities that are out there to do! I used to think that AST courses were geared more for back-country ski touring, a level which I am not yet at, but after joining the community I learned of the importance of knowing about the dangers related to winter hiking, snowshoeing and xc skiing, and there are many. Without Hike365’s on the trail conversations about winter mountain safety I may not have ended up trying out as many of the winter activites as I have this year after taking my AST1 course”

L:-“Hike365 encouraged me to take my AST1 course since we all take the safety part of mountain sports seriously and encourage this amongst our community.  There are some amazing cross country ski trails that some of us want to do on our own time that I knew were in possible avalanche terrain that I want to safely + knowledgeably explore.”

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Did the dangers related to winter mountain travel play a role in your decision to take your AST1?

D: -“Yes. I had a bit of fear with the idea + reality of avalanches, and this motivated me to take the AST1 course.”

L:-“Yes.  I wanted to be proactive and knowledgeable about the possible situations that can occur should I choose to enter into potential avalanche terrain.”

Favourite on the trail snack or breakfast food before hiking ?

D: “Sour candies! I know they are not a traditional trail snack, but i like the sugar kick and love having some on the drive home after a great day on the trails”

L: “I love having a banana with peanut butter + honey along with a cup of tea for a great pre hiking start!”

Do you think you will put your new safety skills to use when participating in our monthly events + on your own adventures?

D: -“By making new friends at Hike365 who also have AST I am so happy to have a better knowledge base of my own to prepare for and participate in the winter activities I am interested in both within and outside of our planned events.  It’s great to do more than than just dream about some of the nordic xc tours I am interested in and be able to accomplish these goals with my new friends I’ve made within the community on our own time.”

L: -“It will be helpful to consistently talk with the other girls in the community who have their AST about what we have learned from our course(s).  I can put what I have learned into practice making sure we are all making safety a number one priority when we are out on our adventures both in winter and summer.”

On location with Diana + Lisa at their AST1 Course through Mountain Skills Academy

Lisa is a geologist from Alberta, and always has a map in hand once the views open up on our adventures to name the peaks as far as the eye can see! Wondering what peaks Lisa’s seen lately? Follow her on Instagram!

Diana is a part of team for a Canadian based outdoor + fitness retailer that works as the bank for their group of buyers.  She’s always up to speed with the latest gear thanks to her career + is always trying new goods out! To see what gear Diana is loving these days check her out on Twitter!

AV is a fine art adventure + travel photographer based out of Canmore Alberta.  She loves shooting images of the Hike365 crew on their adventures, and when she’s not on the trail, is the face behind North Birch Grove
Not all sign posted summer destinations are safe for winter travel. Please research the trail you ware wanting to take appropriately.
– If you are getting out there to play in areas that avalanches are possible, make sure to take an avalanche safety course to recognize the hazards involved with winter mountain travel. Always check avalanche.ca before you head out and know the snow!
– No winter hikes/skis/snowshoes can be listed on our blog as free from all avalanche hazards due to the nature of winter travel. By using any of these recommendations you are acknowledging the risks associated with winter travel, holding yourself accountable for your actions.

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