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 and Andy Nelson from Infinity Guides. 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 3 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.
Thanks to all for such a fabby course.