Welcome to the Eastern Sierra Region Avalanche Section

Eastern Sierra Region Avalanche Advisors
- Alexandra Urza - Squaw Valley
-
Phil Chernin - Squaw Valley
- Mike Derby - Squaw Valley

The avalanche program is in place to help patrollers develop an awareness of the avalanche hazard.  Training programs are offered at various times and locations throughout the ski season in the Sierra; look for a course in the Calendar Section or in the list of resources at the bottom of this page.

Many avalanche courses for the coming season have been scheduled, but always check the calendar for additions or changes. If your patrol has need for a Level 1 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel, contact advisors listed above for possible additional information.  Potential course locations include Heavenly, Northstar, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Homewood, and Tahoe Backcountry.




Avalanche Course Descriptions: The NSP Avalanche program is provided to educate and train both ski patrollers, resort guests, and backcountry skiers. The NSP Avalanche Instructor Manual (AIM) was updated in August 2014 and consists of seven course modules. All Instructor resources and the 2014 Manual are available for download by logging in to the NSP website: http://www.nsp.org/members/oms/resourceinstructordownload.asp?src=src1

The table of course descriptions below is directly from the course manual, pages 1-4 to 1-6.


Summary of NSP Avalanche Courses

Avalanche Awareness (AA)
This is a public safety outreach presentation for winter recreationists who have a casual interest in avalanche safety. It exposes people to the nature of avalanche hazard and what they need to learn before venturing into avalanche terrain. It encourages them to take a Level 1 avalanche safety and rescue course. The presentation is also available as an online course available through the NSP website. For youth groups, NSP has partnered with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center to present its Know Before You Go program.
- Time commitment: flexible, 30-90 minutes.
- Prerequisite: none.
- Grading: none.

Avalanche Foundations
Level 1 Avalanche
Module 1 (L1AM1)
Provides the classroom component of a Level 1 avalanche course. It introduces fundamental concepts and principles of avalanche hazard, safety, and rescue, but it does not include skill development in the field. By itself, the module qualifies as an introductory-level course that satisfies NSP senior elective requirements in those divisions where avalanche hazard is negligible and providing Module 2 is impractical if not impossible due to lack of representative terrain and snowpack. It does not meet full Level 1 course standards and does not qualify as a prerequisite for enrollment in a Level 2 avalanche course.
- Time commitment: minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction.
- Prerequisites:
none.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam.


Avalanche Safety and Rescue Skills
Level 1 Avalanche
Module 2 (L1AM2)
Provides the fie
ld component of a Level 1 avalanche course. This module when combined with Level 1 Avalanche Module 1, completes a full Level 1 course that meets guidelines established by the American Avalanche Association (AAA). It covers basic avalanche problem recognition, including weather snowpack and terrain observation and evaluation; route selection, decision making, survival, self-rescue and small group rescue methods.
- Time comm
itment: minimum of 16 hours of field instruction and practice.
- Prerequisites:
Level 1 Avalanche Module 1 within the previous three years (a pretest may be required); ability to travel in steep, ungroomed, snow covered terrain, under adverse weather conditions.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on evaluation of field skills.

Organized Avalanche Rescue
Level 1
Avalanche
Module 3 (L1AM3)
It’s
a specially designed curriculum to help prepare ski patrollers and other SAR personnel for organized avalanche rescue responsibilities. It introduces organized rescue principles and skills, management structure, special decision-making problems and strategies. It is considered to be the minimum level of rescue education for these personnel.
This
module is strongly recommended for all patrollers who may patrol or recreate at areas that have known avalanche hazard. Some divisions require this module as a requirement for senior classification. Some area patrols require this level of avalanche education as a condition of membership.
- Time comm
itment: minimum of 8 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.
- Prerequisite: NSP Level 1 Avalanche
Modules 1 and 2, or an equivalent full Level 1 avalanche course or refresher within the previous three years; FEMA IS-700(b) course certification.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on final written exam and field skill evaluations.

Avalanche Fundamentals Refresher
Level 1 Avalanche
Modu
le 4 (L1AM4)
A one-day
module designed to upgrade and refresh Modules 1 and 2 knowledge and skills. It includes both classroom and field components.
- Time Commitment: mini
mum of 8 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.
- Prerequisite: Prior complet
ion of NSP Level 1 Module 2 or any full Level 1 avalanche course for recreationists that meets AAA curriculum guidelines.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam and evaluation of field skills.

Level 1 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel Refresher
Level 1 Avalanc
he
Module 5 (L1AM5)
Is a half-
day refresher designed to upgrade and refresh Module 3 organized avalanche rescue skills.
- Time comm
itment: minimum of 4 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.
- Prerequisite: prior completion of Level 1 Avalanche Module 3.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam
and evaluation of field skills.

Level 2 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel (L2ARP)
Is an enhanced Level 2 course especially designed for organized avalanche rescue personnel. Subject matter develops advanced avalanche hazard evaluation skills for a given time and place, and basic hazard forecasting skills projected over a longer time span and larger territory. It introduces risk management strategies, leadership principles for safe travel to an avalanche incident site, conducting immediate search and extended operations; incident alerting and rescue planning, incident and rescue documentation and reporting. It is a prerequisite for entry into NSP avalanche instructor development.
- Time Commitment: minimum of 32 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field. Scheduling is flexible to accommodate instructor and student availability, but may not extend from one season to the next. Pre-course study and homework between sessions is usually required.
- Prerequisites: NSP Level 1 Avalanche Module 3 or 5 within the previous three years; at least one intervening season of additional experience in the field; FEMA IS-100(b) course certification.
- Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on final written exam, simulated rescue report and field skills.




Avalanche Course Registration: This form is for use to register for an avalanche course in the Eastern Sierra, Mother Lode or Northern California regions of the Far West Division of the NSP. Please complete the requested information below, which will be forwarded to the instructor of record who will then process your request to attend the selected avalanche course. Specific course details will be forwarded to you. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Use this Google docs form to register for an avalanche course in the Eastern Sierra or Northern California regions of the Far West Division of the NSP. Complete the requested information, and the instructor of record will process your request to attend the selected avalanche course. Specific course details will be forwarded to you by the instructor of record. You will be contacted by email for additional information.

Course Fees: The fees for each course depends upon the type of course, books and equipment, and location. Members of the NSP receive reduced fees for all courses. This application cannot be processed without valid signature on the Event Release and Assumption of Liability documents. These documents will be forwarded to you via email once you complete the following form. Once those documents are received, course fees are due. To confirm the course registration process, speak with the Instructor of Record.

Course Materials:
Course fees may include some of these materials, contact the instructor to identify which materials will be used for the course. Each course may also include a pre-course study guide and exam to complete the course. Pre-course study is necessary to gain the greatest amount of knowledge from the course. Satisfactory completion of pre-course study materials, reading the assigned materials are essential to receive a certificate of completion.

Level 1: - Snow Sense 5th Edition By Jill Fredston and Doug Fessler $7.00 - Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. $19.00 (optional by instructor) - Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals, 2nd Ed by Atkins & Ballard available from the NSP, 2010 edition $14.00 - Backcountry Avalanche Safety: A Level 1 Summary SKU #510 $7.50 - Avalanche Rescue Quick Guide - SKU #511 $5.00 - Misc snow science publications provided by the instructor

Level 2: - Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. $19.00 - The Avalanche Handbook, 3rd Ed by David McClung $15.00 - Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals, 2nd Ed by Atkins & Ballard $14.00 - Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG) $20.00 - Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals, 2nd Ed by Atkins & Ballard available from the NSP, 2010 edition $14.00 - Backcountry Avalanche Safety: A Level 1 Summary SKU #510 $7.50 - Avalanche Rescue Quick Guide - SKU #511 $5.00 - Misc snow science publications provided by the instructor

Other Avalanche Resources: - Allen & Mikes Avalanche Book, a guide to staying safe in avalanche terrain by Allen O’NBannon and Mike Clelland. $17.00 - Avalanche Essentials by Bruce Tremper, Mounaineers Books $16.00



How to become an Avalanche Instructor:
(See pages 2-24 to 2-27, of the 2014 NSP Avalanche Instructor’s Manual)
- Complete the NSP Level 2 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel course. Completing a Level 2 course may occur during a candidate and mentoring time period.
- Complete the Instructor Development (ID) course. The ID course is available through a one-day class offered annually throughout the Region or via an e-course
http://www.nspelearning.com
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) NIMS 700 and ICS 100 course certification
- If the applicant meets the prerequisites above, the Region Advisor or Division Supervisor assigns an IT for the trainee and provides contact information for both parties. If assigned by the Region Advisor, the Advisor will notify the Division Supervisor that an IT has been assigned.
- The designated IT arranges primary mentoring for the trainee. Mentoring should include all aspects of lesson planning and delivery, course planning, scheduling, registration, administration and closure. A trainee’s final evaluation should indicate competence in all areas. More information on mentoring can be found in the Avalanche Instructor’s Manual.
- Complete an Instructor
Application and submit a copy to the Region Advisor and to the Division Supervisor. It is important to include a comprehensive list of all your avalanche training and expertise and document all of your NSP (or equivalent) teaching experience.


Beacon Training

Alpine Meadows – A beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Heavenly - A BCA beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Homewood - A beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Kirkwood - A BCA beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Mammoth - A BCA beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Mt Shasta - A BCA beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Northstar – A beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Mt. Rose – A beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Sierra at Tahoe - A beacon park will be located on the mountain once the snow depth allows. Contact the ski patrol for the beacon park location and tips on sound beacon search techniques.

Squaw Valley - Introductory beacon training on the 1st & 15th of the month, December 2012 to April 2013. Loan beacons are available for practice. For more information just show up to the Pro Patrol room, which located upstairs from the National Patrol Locker Room. Training sessions start after sweep at 5:30 PM. Any questions call Brian Berry: 530-525-5813.


Useful Links:
NSP (requires login)
NSP Avalanche Program
NSP Resource Page


National and Regional Avalanche Centers
National Avalanche Center http://www.fsavalanche.org
Sierra Avalanche Center (Tahoe) http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org
Colorado Avalanche Information Center http://avalanche.state.co.us
Mammoth Mountian and backcountry Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center
Gallatin NF Avalanche http://www.mtavalanche.com
PNW Avalanche Center http://www.nwac.us
Sawtooth Avalanche Center http://www.sawtoothavalanche.com
Utah Avalanche Center http://www.utahavalanchecenter.org
http://vimeo.com/61441476" http://vimeo.com/61441476


Avalanche Organizations
American Avalanche Association
National Avalanche Foundation
Canadian Avalanche Association

Friends of Avalanche Centers
Friends of the SAC
http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org/how-to-help
Friends of CAIC
Friends of UAC http://utahavalanchecenter.org/about/fuac


Industry Resources
Snowpit Technologies http://www.snowpit.com
Recco Avalanche Rescue Technology

To find current avalanche advisories for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, go to the Sierra Avalanche Center