Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ski Guide's Training at the American Alpine Institute

Getting ready to head into the Baker backcountry (A. Stephen)
Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an in-house ski-guide training at the American Alpine Institute.  Our instructor was IFMGA guide and long-time Institute employee Lyle Haugsven. In true Cascade form, the weather wasn't exactly perfect- in fact it rained pretty much the whole time- but we made the best of it and were able to learn and practice new techniques each day.  I also was reminded that skiing in the rain can be fun. It's like powder skiing, only on slush....

Trying out different types of ski anchors (A. Stephen)

We practiced lowering a skier down a steep slope (A. Stephen)

We spent some time setting up various emergency sleds, and tested their capabilities. (A. Stephen)

On Day 2, we showed up to about an inch and a half of slush in the parking lot and it was raining heavily.  Avalanche conditions were high, so we adjusted our tour plan to safe slopes around artist point.  Equipped with Gore-tex and multiple pairs of gloves, we set out to practice some terrain and group management skills. 

Staying psyched!

Making turns in some fluffy slush!

Despite the difficult conditions, we had a great time!

--Andy Stephen, AAI Instructor and Guide

1 comment:

ra33it said...

Not only is Lyle a great guide, but fortunately he's a pretty great guy too. I've had my fair share of bad weather at Baker this winter, but there have been a few gems too! Good times.