Avalanche course logistics

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Avalanche Safety Training Courses Canada West Mountain School has been an amazing provider of AST courses for the VOC. They give us deals on course tuition, and they have great guides and instructors. Every year there are increasing numbers of people interested in taking the level 1 course, so it is easy to fill up a number of weekends between Dec-March with these training courses. Linda Knight is a phenomenal secretary Canada West, and is really accomodating for arranging course dates, materials and anything else. It is best if you can get ahold of her at least 1 month prior to when you might want the courses to run. She needs time to arrange for instructors, and sometimes it will be weather/condition dependent, especially early season. Generally payment is required at least 2 weeks in advance to secure the spots, and get course materials for participants. So you need to advertise the course as soon as you know the dates, and set a FIRM deadline for when people need to sign up and be 'Paid and Confirmed' by. I found that having a wiki sign up for 'Interested Participants' was useful to guage numbers, and then having a folder in the clubroom lock box where people could drop off money and sign up on paper. Then get them to e-mail me to say that they had paid and then I would move their name to the 'paid and confirmed' section of the wiki page. Once you have a full course (8ppl) you need to arrange with Linda Knight to drop off the money, and pick up the course materials. This is easy, and then you can just leave the booklets etc in the clubroom for people to pick up. This year (2009/2010) it would be good to try and get an AST2 course running, so Linda is looking forward to booking dates early in the fall, for a course later in the winter. That way you can advertise it WAY in advance, and people can start saving money and planning for it, because it is more of a financial investment than the AST1, but well worth it. This is Linda's contact info: Linda Knight - Canada West Mountain School phone: 604 878 7007 fax: 604 876 7047 e-mail: info at themountainschool.com

Organization Timeline

October

  • Decide who you want to be the provider of the avalanche course. Preveous years the Canada West Mountain School has been an amazing provider of AST courses for the VOC. They give us deals on course tuition, and they have great guides and instructors.
  • Decide how many courses you want to organize. Each course have 8 people. It is possible to adjust the number of courses later, however there might not enough instructors to add extra courses.
  • Decide when you want the courses to run. It is easier to run several courses on the same weekends. Preveously we have had courses in mid-December, January and February.
  • Decide a location for the courses. The standard course is one day at Seymour and one day at Whistler, however courses can also be held at Seymour only.
  • Decide if you also want to organize an advanced avalanche course. Ususally the interest isn't very big, but it is possible to gather enough for one team of 8.
  • Contact the provider. Linda Knight is a phenomenal secretary Canada West, and is really accommodating for arranging course dates, materials and anything else. Her contact info is

Linda Knight - Canada West Mountain School phone: 604 878 7007 fax: 604 876 7047 e-mail: info at themountainschool.com

  • Make sure signup is possible for all the courses well in advance (by the end of October) and that it's clear "when they are sold out, they are sold out". Make sure that spots are not given away until people have actually paid, that payment is non-refundable (but transferable), and what is expected of students. See for example signup sheets from 2010-2011.
  • Book classrooms through the VOC exec room booker (usually public relations) for the evening sessions.

November and onwards

  • the first "must be paid by" date will be in November. After that you will be in communication with CWMS many, many times forwarding names each time a course fills up and picking up course materials.

History

See the 2010-2011 schedule; we put 80 VOCers through a course of some kind. 72 AST1 (8 snowshoe, 64 ski/board) and 8 AST2.