Season Training Has Begun!

Backcountry safety is always of prime importance in the heli-skiing and snowcat industries. From September 11 to 17, the annual Canadian Ski Guide Association (CSGA) Glacial Skills and Recurrent Training Camp hosted in the Mike Wiegele skiing tenure at Blue River, BC, brought in 23 students, from all over the world.

CSGI camp director, 17-year CSGA participant and Mike Wiegele Lead Guide Michel Hainault, explained that this camp offers participants (of all levels) a variety of rescue simulations (including crevasse and cliff rescue training), which prepares them for many of the challenges that might occur in the backcountry.

Canadian Ski Guide Association;

CSGA students logging their training simulations, on Boo-Boo-Juice Glacier. Photos by Deanna Kristensen.

“We try and prepare them for situations, that hopefully never occur,” said Hainault. “But if the unfortunate were to happen… these students will be prepared to rescue people accordingly.”

BC’s Monashee Mountains are beautiful at anytime of year. However, Hainault explained that biggest challenge with backcountry training is finding a comfortable season to train in the high alpine areas.

“This time of year is special, because it allows us to get high into the alpine, and experience terrain that you can’t access in unfavourable conditions.”

It is not uncommon for CSGA students to experience wet or frosty mornings and whiteout conditions, during the camp. But Mother Nature gave this 2016 group a week of sunny skies and plus-degree temperatures.

Canadian Ski Guide Association; Heli-Skiing

CGSA crevasse training on Boo-Boo Juice Glacier.

About the Canadian Ski Guide Association Courses:

In 1988, Mike Wiegele helped establish the CGSA in response to a shortage of qualified guides, for the heli-skiing and snowcat industries. Prerequisites for students participating in the CSGA programs include Canadian Avalanche Association Level 1, Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Level 1 course (or equivalent), current 80-hour First Aid Certificate, a resume showing previous industry or related experience and a backcountry ski touring resume or trip log documenting experience.

The CSGA offers courses throughout Canada, to provide instructional guidance on safety and loss prevention. The next CSGA course offering will be hosted at Whistler, BC, December 4 to 14. Check out the CSGA website for more information about the association and its certification programs.