Greetings from the Alaska Avalanche School!
Our 2015-2016 season is well under way with many successful courses and workshops behind us and tons of great things in store for 2016. The collective excitement is high now that winter is finally here and mountain conditions have been great...especially compared to last season! For the first time in a full calendar year, the motorized portion of Turnagain Pass has opened to snowmachiners and riders are enjoying good conditions. We continue to reach out to the snowmachine community and recently completed a custom course for a team of fathers and sons over the MLK weekend. Giving the gift of avalanche education is a great way to bring your extended family and community together!
Sadly, Hatcher Pass has seen periods of poor snowpack stability and a series of accidents and near misses. Three avalanche fatalities have occurred since November 22 - one backcountry skier, one snowboarder and one snowmachiner. More information and accident reports can be found on the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center website here. We are actively working with the community to raise awareness, add more free education workshops, and spread the word through our "Know Before You Go" programming and full course offerings. Please see our Upcoming Events link for details.
And if you have a chance, check out or new page on "Medium" where we are profiling a number of AAS staff in celebration of our 40th Anniversary. We also want to use “Medium” as a platform to discuss current snow safety research, decision making while traveling in avalanche terrain, and the overall state of avalanche education. Stay tuned!
Our active, hands-on courses spend time both in the classroom and in the field at some of Southcentral Alaska’s classic winter recreation destinations. You can expect professional instructors from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom have many seasons of experience in the unique Alaskan backcountry. All courses meet the American Avalanche Association (AAA) curriculum guidelines and students receive a certificate of completion.
The day-and-a-half format of our snowmachine courses minimizes classroom time and gets you into the field where you’ll ride and practice rescue with expert instructors with a passion for the snowmachine community. Based on the five-point national avalanche safety campaign, our snowmachine courses help riders to: 1) Get the Gear, 2) Get the Training, 3) Get the Forecast, 4) Get the Picture, and 5) Get out of Harm’s Way.
AAS offers courses that can be customized to the interests and schedule of your organization or group. Custom courses may include curriculum from one of our standard courses and taught by our professional instructors, or we can work with you on a custom curriculum tailored to your needs. We also offer the opportunity to arrange a day of backcountry skiing or riding with a professional instructor who can give you or your small group a more personalized “private lesson” to hone your avalanche skills and decision-making.