Backcountry Riders Mentorship Program

BRMP Mentor Lukas Matejovsky catching a white wave in Rogers Pass (PC: D.McLachlan)

BRMP Mentor Lukas Matejovsky catching a white wave in Rogers Pass (PC: D.McLachlan)

The “Backcountry Riders Mentorship Program” (BRMP) is the next step for skiers and split-boarders with a few seasons of backcountry experience who are aiming to go deeper into the backcountry in search of more challenging routes in avalanche terrain. Mentorship is provided by experienced Edmonton Section volunteers who will share techniques and practices to help you take your backcountry experience to the next level and improve independent decision-making. Our goal is to invest in members that will become future trip leaders and mentors within the Edmonton Section of the ACC.

Overview

The program consists of two (2) scheduled mountain trips as a group with program mentors as well as in-town workshops. Mountain trips will be based out of HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre. Each day, we will seek out downhill-oriented routes in Challenging to Complex avalanche terrain. Evening discussions will include a group debrief and a planning session for the next day. On these trips we will put into practice:

  • Hazard identification and avalanche awareness

  • Route finding, track setting, and terrain management

  • Trip planning and group management

Workshops will be held in the evenings, here in Edmonton, and include: 

  • Review and practice companion rescue including beacon search methods

  • Review of avalanche hazards and decision-making tools/aids

  • Trip planning resources, strategies, and essential map skills. 

Program Dates

A summary of the main events/trips and scheduled dates are as follows:

  • Jan. 21: Kickoff Meeting and Social (Edmonton, TBD)

  • Jan 27 or 28: Companion Rescue Review (Edmonton, TBD)

  • Feb 1-2: Mountain Trip #1 (Lake Louise)

  • February 12: Route Planning and Map Skills Workshop (Edmonton, MEC Downtown, 6-9 PM)

  • March 20-22. Mountain Trip #2 (Lake Louise)

Participant Requirements

This program is aimed at Edmonton Section members who have at least 1 to 2 seasons of winter backcountry experience. Participants with good cardiovascular fitness and strong downhill riding skills in all conditions will be best suited for the style and difficulty of trips planned for this program. The minimum expectations for participants are:

  • ability and willingness to contribute in a group setting,

  • can ski double-black diamond terrain safely in all conditions (tight trees, wind crust, powder, etc), with a loaded pack, 

  • the ability to break trail in powder snow, skin and climb at least 1200 m/day,  

  • willingness to apply judgment and engage in decision-making for travel in mountain terrain, 

  • AST 1 certificate, and

  • Valid Edmonton Section membership.

Costs

$110 in course fees, plus:

  • Pre-booked hostel accommodations for weekend trips: approx $35 per night.

  • Carpooling and meals will be planned as a group and expenses shared.

How To Apply 

Please complete the application form FOUND HERE before November 10, 2019. Up to six (6) participants may be accepted and everyone will be notified by November  29. Please contact brmp.yeg.acc@gmail.com with any questions about the application, prerequisites, or the program in general.

Required Gear

Participants will be expected to own all of their personal avalanche safety and touring gear. A detailed list of gear requirements will be discussed at the kick-off meeting and will include the following main items:

  • Alpine-Touring (AT) skis or Splitboard with appropriate bindings, boots, and fitted skins

  • Avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel

  • Backpack, ~35 to 45 L, with ski/board carry system

  • Helmet required 

Program Limitations

The program does not seek to replace the avalanche safety and technical training offered by ACMG/IFMGA instructors. Rather, this program is based on a mentorship model involving knowledge transfer from volunteers as well as between participants. The Edmonton Section recommends that all participants complete AST 2 with a certified provider before travelling independently in Challenging to Complex avalanche terrain.

BRMP participants confirming the way up (PC: D.McLachlan)

BRMP participants confirming the way up (PC: D.McLachlan)

Route planning is an ongoing discussion throughout the day (PC: L.Matejovsky)

Route planning is an ongoing discussion throughout the day (PC: L.Matejovsky)