Skills Training

ACC Whistler encourages its members to grow their skills in the backcountry. We host a variety of sessions that allow for a chance to learn something new, or practice an old skill.

Currently, interest has been expressed in Avalanche Transceiver Practices, Snow Science, and Crevasse Rescue, but we are happy to coordinate other skill development. You just have to let us know, and the best way to do that is at a meeting.

Most of the times the training sessions are free to members, but once in a while we hire outside experts (guides) and will ask for a nominal fee to help with the costs.

We typically get an overwhelming response to a session when we schedule it, so RSVP’ing is a must. It helps us manage the safety ratio between the instructor and the group. It is, after all, the backcountry.

See you out there!


Avalanche Transceiver Practices

Once the snow starts to fly and stick, we’ll meet once a week at Whistler Secondary School or a nearby park. Sessions are usually on a week night, and run for roughly an hour and a half. Dates, times, and location will be posted on the calendar.

Typically the idea of a transceiver practice is to do just that: practice your transceiver skills. We do a variety of scenarios, including multiple burials, and sometimes we’ll even try to trick you – to make sure you really know how to use your transceiver.

Of course, if you have a specific question in mind, or need help with a particular component (like probing or group management in an avalanche), we’re happy to adjust.

You’ll need to bring a transceiver, probe, and shovel. A headlamp, gloves, and winter clothing will help, too, since you’ll be digging and running around in the snow.

Sessions are free for members, and cost $2 for non-members.


Snow Science Skills Training

Last winter, this session was our most popular. An overwhelming 17 members participated in this day-long event off the back of Whistler mountain, which gave everyone the opportunity to practice digging a snowpit.

Topics included site selection, appropriate pit type and tests, limitation of each test, and recording of snowpack data and weather observations. The session also covered how to connect current avalanche bulletins with field test results.

Touring does occur in the session, but it is not the primary purpose. There are other trips that are specifically designed to introduce you to ski touring.

This session is for members only, and you must have your AST1 certification or equivalent. Contact accwhistler@shaw.ca to determine your equivalency. You must also bring your own avalanche rescue gear: digital (preferably three-antenna transceiver); probe; shovel; touring gear; and snow observation gear if you have any.

Cost is $20 per member.

Dates and times will be posted on the calendar.


Crevasse Rescue Training

This session is designed for those who are ski touring in glaciated terrain and may encounter crevasses. The focus is on the complication involved with skis. It is not a mountaineering crevasse rescue training session, although some of the techniques may be similar.

The day-long session usually begins in a flat, open area, like Rebagliati Park, then shifts to one of the mountains. Topics include rope set-up and management, and rescue techniques with one or multiple rescuers.

You must be a section member to participate and have some backcountry experience. Cost is $20 per member. You should have knowledge of how to tie a prussic and other knots, and be familiar with general anchor-building principles.

You will need to bring backcountry ski gear and two prussics.

Dates and times will be posted on the calendar.


Skill training calendar