It's common knowledge - powder days are the best days for skiing, and consequently the busiest. If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of the day to day lift line grind, and are looking for any alternative to the 9-4 tourist grind that is your local resort. Now, any sane amount of reasoning would lead you to wanting the backcountry - the natural sequel to the gateway drug that is resort skiing.
BUT - and I can’t make the font big enough to stress this enough - there are a few things you need to know before grabbing a beacon, shovel, and probe at the nearest REI to get ready for powder season. And the best place to learn these things is by signing up for an avy 1 course at your local guide service. Here are just a few of the infinite reasons why you should get your avy 1 before earning your turns this winter.
Know How to Gather and Use Info:
Probably the best thing you learn in an avy 1 course is how to find the forecast, avalanche conditions, and make decisions based on that information. You wouldn’t dive into water without knowing how deep it was first, right? Information is half the battle in the backcountry, and your avy 1 instructor will show you where to get the info you need and how to use it to keep you safe.
Be Able to Make Judgement Calls:
In the backcountry, it’s important to know when to be uncertain - to know when to just say “no” and come back another day. It’s not that the professional skier you have for a partner doesn't know what they’re doing, it’s that you should know how to evaluate the conditions on your own and avoid the group mentalities that can become dangerous in the backcountry.
Better Terrain, Less (Lift) Lines:
This ones the reason you’re here, you shredder, you. Machine made moguls and perfectly manicured glades can only satisfy you for so long. And not only that, you have to wait at the bottom once you’re done. You aren’t going to let the swarms of gapers dictate how many runs you can get in, are you? Skip the lift and grab some skins - whatever you’re looking for, the backcountry will have it - and taking an avy 1 course will give you the skills to get there and back safely.