Why I started teaching:
I was involved with two avalanche body recoveries in a month’s time as a member of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group in the winter of 1992-1993. At the time, avalanche education was very expensive and many classes emphasized snow science. Myself and three other members of the group thought it would be better to save lives by providing affordable, effective and practical avalanche education. We would rather spend our time educating about avalanches than going on avalanche rescues. We started the Walter Kirch Avalanche Seminars for all backcountry users. The success of the classes lead to them being offered at Colorado Mountain College. In 1996 we offered our first snowmobile specific class. Avalanche 1 was started in 2005 to provide avalanche education to meet the specific needs of snowmobilers.
Why snowmobile specific classes?
Most avalanche classes are taught by skiers and taught from a skiers or snowboarder’s perspective. If you are a snowmobiler, you are usually told not to high point. Much of your time in class is spent learning techniques that work for skiers or snowboarders. Your instructor may not have any backcountry snowmobiling experience.
Avalanche 1 classes are different. The classes are taught from a snowmobiler’s perspective. You will learn techniques that work for snowmobilers by an avalanche instructor who has 20 years of mountain riding experience. You will learn how to avoid getting caught in avalanche situations that are inherent to snowmobiling.