Archive:Beacon practice session Dec 1

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Template:Practice Session Date


So frequently, we all head out into the backcountry to engage in the wonderful activity of skiing. But with this beautiful powder, comes untold dangers. The great white bus is an express to the lower terminal and won't drop you off at a convenient stop. While we try our best to avoid the dangers of avalanches by studying the snow-pack, checking the avalanche advisory, and skiing specific slopes, there is always the risk that we trigger an avalanche. That is why one of the critical steps we can take is to wear an avalanche beacon, to travel with a group also wearing avalanche beacons, and to know how to bloody use the beacon when shit hits the fan.

Being totally honest, for such an essential skill, we really don't practice it enough. Thus, I am going to be organizing a practice session for beacons. And if it goes well, we may hold more of these throughout the season.

This event is for everybody. If you have never used a beacon before and want to know what the big fuss is, or if you want to practice your triple burial recovery skills with that new tracker 2 you just bought, this event is for you.

It is important to note that this is not official instruction and does not replace the benefits of taking an avalanche skills training course. You should still take an avalanche course. This event is to help you practice and stay safe, because the more practice the better.

The Beach

So, you ask, where are we going to go to practice. Usually you need snow to practice a decent simulation. Well, guess what, the beach also works. And has the benefit of being quite close. It will still simulate the ability to bury beacons, and will give us plenty of space to work with.


We are going to go to Wreck Beach (this is a change from the initial location which was going to be Jericho). It will be at the base of the stairs just outside Vanier.

When is it?

The practice session is Dec. 1st. Time has been changed to be 8pm which will be right after the Jared Stanley lecture which is going from 7-8pm on campus. It is going to be dark, so you will want to bring your headlamp.


So, what is happening with the beacons. Well, the exec has said that the week of Dec. 1st, all the beacons will not be loaned out from the gear room until Thursday morning. So, I will grab all the beacons I can from the club room for this event. But, if you have your own beacon, I really recommend bringing it so that you can get comfortable on it (you will be using it to save somebody's life no less). I for one, have an analog beacon and really need to get more practice on it.

We will use Ziploc bags inside Tupperware to keep the beacons free of sand.

Gear Required

You should bring:

  • Warm clothes
  • Headlamp
  • Beacon (if you have one)
  • Batteries for a club beacon (if you aren't bringing your own)
  • Probe (probably won't work in the sand too well)
  • Shovel
  • Ziploc bag and Tupperware (please bring some of these because I don't have enough Tupperware for all the beacons)


Organized by Michael Duncan.

There is no limit to the number of people. The beach is mostly endless.

People who know stuff about beacons and could help teach for part of the evening (and practice too)

  1. Michael Duncan
  2. Eliza Boyce
  3. Phil Tomlinson
  4. Greg West
  5. Philippe Le Billon

People who know nothing/ not much about beacons and want some instruction before practicing

  1. Caitlin
  2. CarolineJ
  3. Shuval haramati
  4. Ian Johnston
  5. Michael Uhlmann
  6. Sebastian Max
  7. Faroe Des Roches
  8. Dave Perez
  9. Derry
  10. Mel T
  11. Jeff T

People who know how to use a beacon and want to practice burial scenarios

  1. Skyler Des Roches
  2. Fabienne Meier
  3. Anna Szeitz