January 26, 2010 Avalanche Education, Backcountry Skiing, Sawtooth Guides This Winter Season is about Good-Decision-Making & Terrain Selection & Dialing Down Ambitions for Big LinesFollowing early winter trips and courses in December at the Williams Peak Yurt, our January has rolled out a number of AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 courses for an array of backcountry audiences. The First Ascent Guide Team came together for a Custom Level 2 which focused on in-depth skills in Observations, Forecasting Skills and Tour Leadership. IFMGA Teton Guide, Kent McBride joined Kirk to head up the 4-day program. Our terrain nearby on Galena Pass and Copper Mountain provided striking contrasts in snow pack instabilities after a recent avalanche cycle. The Sawtooth Hotel provided the ambiance with meals and accommodations for the course. Great venue!Two back to back Level 1 Courses for Skiers and Snowboarder at the Williams Peak Hut were in full attendance with folks from Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana. With a very interesting snowpack in the northern Sawtooths, small tour groups joined Kirk, Hatch and Clark to assess the mountain terrain while snowpack evaluation necessitated smart backcountry travel skills. The Skier’s Summit provided an excellent tour objective to assess and manage hazards.During the January mid-weeks, we had the pleasure of running two custom trainings. The first was a 3-day AIARE Level 1 for the Greenwoods Ski Haus pros. A great bunch of eight backcountry enthusiasts from Boise’s most trusted ski pro shop. Winter storms added to a changing snowpack for the sessions offering up interesting conditions for travel decisions.The Sun Valley Fire Department joined us to run a Level 1 Training for their Team which combined the course content with enhanced Rescue Response Skills. This course was based from their Fire station for Lectures. Galena Pass came through with an unstable snowpack for field study and the onslaught of a natural avalanche cycle, kept the fire crew utilizing conservative decisions while riding terrain on snowmobiles. Thanks to Nick from the firehouse for bringing a team together for the course: Course Leader Michael Hatch, AIARE Instructors Clark Corey and George Di’angelo.While heading up the Avalanche Awareness program for REI in Boise to fill out the month thru January, Kirk joins forces with the Eco Lounge in Boise during early February, while our Feb. 5-7 AIARE LEVEL 1 is booked with a full crew. Anyone interested in AVALANCHES? The season continues: Level 2–Tour Leaderhip and Avalanche Hazard, Custom Avalanche Courses and tours with our guides in February and March. Keep a keen eye for the ongoing snowpack season….astute observations…stay tuned!!