February 16, 2016
By Todd Eberts, Freeride Avalanche Educator
“Got a 26 signal on our beacon! Yell it out when you get a signal! Let’s get our shovels and probes out! Give them some space…”
When in an avalanche rescue situation, Todd Eberts wants snowmobilers to have the field experience, avalanche safety training and practice to know what to do. With most people there’s going to be panic, a disorganized mess, even when just training. With Niko Weis avalanche courses, it’s a relaxed atmosphere that hopefully will transfer to a little less chaos if your rescue skills are called upon in the field. A few pearls of wisdom:
• We’re not out there with textbooks and notepads in the mountains. Most people learn from having their feet and their hands in the snow, digging snow pits and doing snowpack tests themselves, instead of looking at slideshows. This is a big part of what we do.
• There’s a term we use called “consciously incompetent,” which means knowing that you don’t know. It’s important to be consciously incompetent. Even myself, I want to take more avalanche safety courses, I want to learn more. I want to become more proficient.
• All too often during our avalanche beacon training, I have people turn to me and say: “I thought I knew how to use this.” Better now than after a real avalanche.
• You want to be with someone who can dig you out of an avalanche or terrain trap. You are only as safe as the people you ride with. You are not going to be digging yourself out of the snow.
• Be safe, have fun, tell your friends to take an avalanche safety course.
Todd Eberts is a Freeride Avalanche Educator with Nico Weis avalanche education, based in British Columbia. Todd and Niko are regarded by many Canadian backcountry sledders as the most qualified and experienced snowmobile specific instruction company north of the border.