Archive:Exec report - Trips Coordinator 2008 - 2009

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Trips Coordinator: Madeleine Martin-Preney

This year was quite awesome in terms of trips - there was usually at least one trip happening every weekend, and most of the exec were great at organizing their one trip (or more) per semester which meant that a lot of 'beginner friendly' type trips happened. There was also great initiative within the body of active members, and a few trips each term were organized by other VOC club members, Yay!

Glacier School this year was split into two separate groups, G1 (Cerise Creek) and G2 (Joffre Lakes). This was mostly to try and reduce environmental impact on the areas we visited, and it also let us increase the number of spots for students (see VOCJ51 for more details). Everything went well, and people were happy to learn about glaciers and practice glacier travel skills.

Intro to the VOC night was a new idea proposed by Line Veenstra, and it was a really awesome event. Many newbies were happy to have a chance to ask all the questions they wanted and have a live demo of how to navigate the message board, wiki and other VOC amenities.

One of my goals this year was to ensure that there were as many Avalanche Safety Training courses as possible, so that many VOCers could get some basic skills for winter backcountry recreation. We ran four 8-person AST1 courses, and all participants seemed to be quite happy with the instruction they received. Canada West Mountain School is an excellent business and very helpful at organizing these courses for the VOC. I am hoping that an AST2 can be organized for the 09/10 winter, as there were a number of people interested this year, but it didn't work out.

Winter Longhike was held up at Red Heather this year, in conjunction with an Avalanche Awareness weekend put on by the Garibaldi Park Rangers. This afforded some extra entertainment and learning for students the following day. It was pretty warm, and therefore wet for building snowcaves, but everyone survived, and I think most even enjoyed themselves.

A great year overall, and thanks to everyone who helped instruct, organize, and lead the various trips that happened this year.

Below are some 'tips' a.k.a what I learned this year to help make organization of the various larger trips a bit easier (hopefully).

Glacier School

It is best if this can happen either the 1st or 2nd weekend of the fall semester, before people start getting too overwhelmed with school. It is also a good way to encourage networking between old and new members.

Ideally, you should get a thread on the message board at least 2-3 weeks BEFORE the date of the trip, so people can get stoked and reserve that weekend. Some things that need to be done in advance (3 weeks is good):

  • Decide WHERE you will be holding Glacier School. Based on this decision, decide if you want to hold both Glacier 1 and Glacier 2 at this location. Consider # of ppl, and if you want to cap numbers (this is important for high use areas, i.e. Cerise Creek, where other Backcountry users don't like to see big hordes of VOCers.) -post on other backcountry forums that a large VOC group will be in the area.
  • Decide WHO you want for instructors. If you have no idea, ask other exec members, because they will have ideas from previous years. It is good to think about getting people who have a reliable reputation. If you don't know them, ask other execs what they think, sometimes there can be sketch issues.
  • Decide WHAT you want to have taught at glacier school, and structure the groups and day accordingly
  • If you are going into a high use area, it is good to check with the owners/maintainers of the area (i.e. Cerise Creek = Scott and Erica Flavelle, 8286 Alpine Way, Whistler BC, V0N 1B8 604 932 8904) to ask if it is ok to have a large group come in that weekend.
  • If you are going to an environmentally sensitive area, you should think about 'pack it in, pack it out' in relation to ALL human wastes - biodegradable dog poo bags are about $4/50 or so from IGA.
  • WINE - try and organize how many litres of wine you need, (250mL/person is a good rule of thumb) and get the mulling spices to go with it (usually a few cinnamon sticks, a small orange (use juice and rind), a handful of raisins and some TBLSPs of sugar is good for 1.5L of wine. Or make it up yourself.
  • Money - usually there is a small fee associated with Glacier school, this is used for poo bags, wine, photocopying etc. Decide what it will be in advance of Dry school, and DO NOT ACCEPT IOU's.

Finally, decide when Dry school will be held, book the room, buy the prussik cord (see old wiki pages) and decide whether or not you want to print theory booklets. I thought that maybe it was a waste of paper, and it would be better to just post a good link to some webpages that go over theory of glacier travel, knots etc. This will save printing costs as well. Make sure Dry School is booked in an area with a stairwell to facilitate mock crevasse rescue scenarios (Buchanan A-100 is a great room, with an open stairwell nearby). HAVE FUN!!!!!!

Intro to the VOC night

This year an 'Intro to the VOC' night was held, and met with great success. This was an informal little event that was geared towards new members who are unfamiliar with the workings of the VOC and the webpage/messageboard aspect of things. I think this is a really great event, and should become a regular part of the trip schedule. Here are some ideas of what to go over: -How to use the wiki/messageboard (using the slideprojector and actually going through it on the screen for people is a big help) -How to rent gear - include info about gear hours, deposits etc. -Workhikes - explain what they are, why you should do one, and some opportunities for workhikes. -The importance of not being shy to ask about going on trips -Introductions to some of the veteran VOCers that are willing to help out and act as a resource for new members (Roland is an exemplar). -Some time for mingling/chatting/networking/questions.

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

Winter Longhike

This is the 2nd TC run trip. Again it is at the beginning of the winter semester, usually the first week back, so it takes some advance planning during the christmas break. Here are somethings you should do: Decide WHERE you want to have WLH - this is usually based on avalanche conditions, weather and/or availability of high-use areas. (Look at past wiki pages for ideas) - Contact owners/maintainers of high-use areas at least 2 weeks before you plan to go, in case there is some problem and you need to change location. Post on other forums as well that a large VOC group is going into the area. ADVERTISE at least 2 weeks prior with a message board thread and wiki page sign-up. I would say it is even better to have a message board thread started before the break so that people can think about before they leave on holiday, and have something to look forward to when they come back to school. Hold Dry School at least 3 days before the event, so that rides etc can be sorted out - inevitably there will be some people that bail, and others that want to join really badly. Make sure you have some 'leader types' that are willing to help the beginners learn how to build snowcaves, and are either tenting or can build their own snowcave really fast. Organize/delgate the purchase of sufficient wine for the group. This money usually comes out of left-over funds from Glacier School. Don't forget the mulling spices! HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

General Trip Schedule

One thing that is probably the most important is to make sure you can get the other execs to run/organize trips. This gets more difficult as everyone gets sucked into their schoolwork, so a strategic idea is to plan weekends WELL IN ADVANCE. Pull out the Fall semester calendar at the first and 2nd exec meeting, and try to get as many exec members to choose at least 1 weekend on which they will run a trip. That way these can go on the Trip Schedule portion of the wiki, and everyone is clear about what they are expected to do and can plan around it. Some execs will need help to plan trips, or will need help setting up a wiki page etc, so if you can point them in the right direction, everyone will be happier. Once execs have their weekends, the trip should be advertised on the message board and wiki at least 2 weeks in advance

Importance of Beginner Friendly Trips

Beginner Friendly Trips are integral to the workings of the VOC. Not only do they get new members involved and learning new skills, it is also an opportunity for old and new members to network, and share their skills. It is also a great way to discover potential new execs. Not all trips need be 'beginner friendly', but I think most should at have that option. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!