Practical Workshops


Workshops on practical
avalanche safety challenges


Feedback from the last two ISSW conferences indicated a desire for more content with relevance to practitioners; people who spend every day working in the snow.

Join us Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:15 to 11:35 where a carefully selected panel of experts will give their perspective and engage in a moderated discussion on avalanche related topics affecting their workplace.

If you have any questions about the workshops please contact Marc Piché.

Avalanche Safety Equipment for Ice and Alpine Climbing

Not if, but how.
Monday, September 29

Click here for the summary notes from the workshop.

If there is dogma anywhere in the mountains, it is that we wear a transceiver, probe and shovel when we ski in avalanche terrain. How can we possibly justify spending time in avalanche terrain while climbing waterfall ice or in alpine terrain without the gear? The short answer-we usually can't. The panelists bring their perspectives to the topic from the fields of mountain rescue, climbing guiding, public avalanche forecasting, and a guiding company with a standardized process for deciding whether to bring the equipment into the terrain.

Avalanche Research

What has science done for us?
Tuesday, September 30

Click here for summary notes of the workshop.

The last 25 years has seen amazing advances in science and technology in just about every field there is. But what about avalanches?  Have developments in science and technology improved our ability to predict avalanches? How far have we come, and what more do we know about avalanche prediction than we did 25 years ago?  What might be in store for the next 25 years, and what kind of science will we need to get there?

Compaction - Does it work?

How, why, when and why not.
Thursday, October 2

Click here for the summary notes from the workshop.

Ski areas and backcountry ski operations rely on ski compaction/layer disturbance to help stabilize the snowpack. Even heavy compaction can fail to reach basal layers and is one swipe enough to really disturb a layer of surface hoar? Panelists from ski areas and backcountry-guiding operations will discuss how they monitor and manage the process along with some of its successes and failures.

Training, Certification, Qualification and Scope of Practice

Who is qualified to do what?
Friday, October 3

Click here for summary notes of the workshop.

Increasingly, in Canada and worldwide, regulators are looking more closely at the avalanche industry. Can we define who is qualified to work in various avalanche related fields before these definitions are made for us?  How does a company know who to hire? Do the current training and certification programs meet the needs of the various industries? Do the various associations do enough to hold their members accountable? Will the current status quo hold up to the scrutiny of an accident investigation?