Avalanche, backcountry safety classes getting under way | VailDaily.com

Avalanche, backcountry safety classes getting under way

Daily staff report

EAGLE COUNTY – A local mountaineering school is kicking off its winter classes.

Apex Mountain School’s winter backcountry courses start in early January with instruction in avalanche education, wilderness medicine, mountaineering and winter survival skills.

“It’s important. People have lived here 30 years and we now have these kids who’ve grown up here,” said Scott Smith with Apex Mountain School.

Winter classes begin Jan. 6 and run through late February, specializing in avalanche courses and winter back country survival skills.

Apex provides skills training courses for participants of all ages and experience levels..

“We’re getting inquiries about whether we welcome minors,” Smith said. “There’s a 12 years old kid who’s skiing big mountain competitions. Now he’s in the back country and is taking the course. His dad was looking for some help. If he’s going to do it, and he is, he needs to learn to be safe.”

Courses include instruction by certified instructors. Students will learn prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, basic decision making in the field, how to recognize avalanche terrain and implement route-finding skills. They’ll also learn to locate and rescue a party member involved in an avalanche.

There’s some classroom instruction, then participants head travel by back country ski, split board and snow shoe, to practice what they’ve learned.

The course costs $315 per person.

For more information or to register, visit apexmountainschool.com/events or call (970) 949-9111

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