John Dallinson Level 1 St Gervais 2013
Bruce Goodlad’s and Mike Austin’s avalanche course ticked all the boxes for me. Breakfast sessions before the lifts opened to discuss ‘theory’ were followed by short interesting ski tours to put theory to the test. The simple fact is that avalanche accidents aren’t just ‘bad luck’ but are mainly brought on by ourselves. Benefitting from their vast experience of the mountains, Bruce and Mike taught us to assess the snow around us, read the terrain to be crossed, judge group dynamics and make the best route choices to enjoy the day and keep out of trouble. The course is essential learning for anyone who ventures beyond the ropes no matter how many times they have done it and got away with it before!
Di Gilbert MIC Level 2 Glenmore Lodge Cairngorms 2014
I have been working as a full time MIC for over 13 years now, and I would like to think that I know one or two things about snow. I would certainly never call myself an ‘expert’. Somebody once said that “you can only call yourself an expert, when you have spent your whole life in the mountains and are now on your death bed due to old age”. Part of my job is to educate individuals about the dynamics of snow and its effect on the mountain environment. It can be the most amazing medium to work and play on, but it can also be a ticket to meet the “white reaper” unnecessarily quickly. To remain updated over the years, I have attended numerous avalanche refresher courses which have all been very worthwhile and re-emphasised things that I was already doing. However, thanks to Sandy Paterson, wearing his CPD co-ordinator hat for Jockland members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, he managed to tap into a new resource. This resource came in the form of Mike Austin from Avalanche Geeks. Mike is an American Mountain Guide Association Ski Guide and a Pro Member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), a collective group of dedicated professionals engaged in the study, forecasting, control and mitigation of avalanches.
So, for the past 4 days, I was joined by an equally passionate group of MIC’s, as we sat the AAA Level 2 Course. This is the first time that a level 2 course has been run in the UK and I cannot recommend this enough. A structured course working to a established syllabus, demonstrated how little I actually knew about the white stuff.
If I am brutally honest, it made a mockery of our award scheme by highlighting how little time is actually spent on this extremely important subject. Hey, I want to “shred the pow” as much as everybody else but as the title said, Knowledge is King. Di Gilbert MIC
Bruce and Mike’s Avalanche Course was the best (of quite a few) we’ve attended. Great balance of classroom discussion (well focused and clearly presented materials from various international avalanche associations) with on the hill practical instruction. The opportunity to experience and discuss snow tests, routing decisions etc as we toured was particularly valuable in helping to reinforce the theory and enable us to start making our own assessment of the risks.
Matt Robinson Level 2 Light Chamonix 2015
Thanks for a great course. I’ve now done three courses this winter, but this was by far the most useful. In terms of feedback, I liked the way you maintained a focus
on pragmatic decision making without skimping on the theory and
delivered it all in an accessible and enjoyable way. I’d be very happy
to recommend it to friends.
Rob Reglinski Training Officer Aberdeen MRT Level 1 Cairngorms
Just a quick note to say thanks for the weekends training, I and the team learned loads and am already changing the way I approach the snow. We held a debrief last night and the feeling was overwhelmingly positive. We are now looking at adjusting our training a little based on some of the learnings.
Paul Adams Level 2 Light St Gervais 2016
Mike & Bruce, just a short note of thanks for the avi course – it built on previous “academic” knowledge as well as my own experiences and I’m sure it will give me greater confidence in my own decisions in the future.
I know from personal experience that delivering education can be challenging, especially to people with different agenda’s, backgrounds and expectations; you managed this with ease in a classroom and out on the mountain – all very impressive!