Course Descriptions>Avalanche Courses
Yes, avalanches do happen in New England and each year a number of backcountry enthusiasts are injured or killed in New England from avalanches.
WHY CHOOSE ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES FOR YOUR AVALANCHE EDUCATION?
Simply our instructor team is the strongest in New England and our courses reflect that. We were at the table early on when the concept of furthering public avalanche education in the U.S. was being discussed and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education was being created. For several years we were the only climbing school sponsoring AIARE avalanche courses in the eastern U.S. We often ran them at a financial loss, brought avalanche guru Karl Klassen (canadian IFMGA guide, chief forecaster for the Canadian Avalanche Association, and initial technical director for AIARE) in from western Canada to teach them, and corralled all of our friends to attend just to have enough people to run the course. In fact, many of the snow rangers and current avalanche course providers who are working or have worked on Mount Washington were participants in those early courses. Today, times have changed and demand for courses has created an abundance of courses and providers. While all the courses are good, we believe ours to be superior and here's why:
Jon Tierney is the longest standing, continuous provider of AIARE avalanche courses in the east. He first brought avalanche courses to New England as early as 1986 on Katahdin. He began co-instructing with and was mentored by Karl Klassen in the mid 90's with the inception of AIARE. In his lifetime, Jon has a love of high places and has spent a lot of time on snow as an alpine and ski guide and a climbing ranger and you will benefit from that experience. He brings you experience from ranging from high altitude peaks in Alaska, China and South American to mountains of New England. Jon is known for making things easy to understand and his excellent blend of teaching skills that are highly effective with groups. If you take a course with Jon, you will take another. Jon is an AIARE Level I course leader, Level II course leader and a graduate of the Level III professional course.
"Jon is a very experienced professional guide and one of best outdoor educators in the AMGA. His client care and technical skills are excellent." - 2006, Bela Vadasz (Ski Mountaineering discipline coordinator) and Rob Hess (AMGA Technical Director).
Al Mandell is a superb, technically precise skier who has coached several aspiring IFMGA guides on their ski skills in preparation for their ski exams. But more than that he has a huge passion for skiing that you can't help but become infected by. He is an engineer so avalanche science makes sense and he is able to share it with participants in a very understandable and excited manner. Al has completed the AMGA Ski Guides Course and AMGA Advanced Ski Mountaineering Course and Aspirant Exam this spring and is pursue the AMGA Ski Mountaineering Certification. Al is an AIARE Level I course leader, Level II course leader and a graduate of the Level III professional course.
Blake Keogh is the newest member of our team but he is no stranger to snow. A superb skier, Blake shadowed and assisted on nearly every course we ran in 2015 and 2016. Now that's a lot of commitment from someone whose friends are all out there shredding the "pow" on those freshie days. That commitment extends to research and Blake completed his graduate thesis on the subject of The Human Factor Effect and Avalanches in Tuckerman Ravine. Blake an AIARE Level I course instructor. Blake is a Level 1 course instructor and graduate of the Level III professional course as well.
So before you just sign up for a course, compare our instructor team to others. When you do, the choice will be easy.
Each participant on an AMGCS avalanche course will be provided a beacon, probe and shovel. Interestingly we were surprised to learn that not all northeastern avalanche courses traveling in avalanche terrain were outfitted with the core safety tools. Additionally each group of four will be provided a group snow study kit. Of course, if you have your own you are welcome to use it.
At each course we bring a selection of brand new beacons, probes and shovels along with avalanche packs and snow study tools. Student can try these and purchase them at a significant discount if they like. If you need outdoor gear, all AMGCS clients also get a lifetime 15% personal purchase discount at AlpenglowGear.com.
We have access to Katahdin and some years we run an avalanche course there! Hands down, Katahdin is the best area in New England for an avalanche course. For our Katahdin avalanche courses we stay in a warm bunkhouse (courtesy of Baxter State Park) and are only minutes away from real avalanche terrain on a variety of aspects. The area works well for both skiers and snowshoers.
The Companion Rescue Course is a one day stand alone course that is intended to be retaken periodically in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. The course goes beyond the basic skills taught in the Level 1 Class. Multiple skill building and scenario based exercises will focus on single and multi-person burial with a heavy emphasis on scene management and team work.
This is pre-requisite for AIARE Level 2 Courses and the AIARE Pro 1and is hightly recommended as Level 1 participants as well. Also, a great skill refresher.
In many ways finding a buried companion is the easy part! You now have to take care of a potentially badly injured companion(s). The Acadia Mountain Guides course is unique as it also includes basic information and training on post rescue care developed by IFMGA guide and Flight Paramedic Jon Tierney.
Our courses are typically structured to begin in the evening of day 1 and have a evening session on day 2 instead of meeting in the morning on day 1. This often allows participants to travel more conveniently. About 1/3 of day 2 and all of day 3 is spent in the field.
Who should take the course? The AIARE 1 is for anyone, regardless of method of travel (skis, snowshoes, snowmobile, climber, etc) who wants to travel in or near avalanche terrain. Aspiring professionals will need to take the AIARE 1 and a Companion Rescue course as a prerequisite for the Pro 1 Course.
Prerequisites: Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain on either skis or snowshoes and possess appropriate clothing to stay warm and dry on cold and windy winter days.
Have a group? Are you part of a college organization, ski club, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized courses for organizations, small groups and individuals through New England, Eastern Canada. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course in Iceland or Colorado we would be very pleased to work with you.
AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course -
A History of
Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is the preeminent leader in climbing instruction and guiding in Acadia and across Maine. We specialize in designing customized experiences or training for you, your family or your group.
Directed by internationally recognized IFMGA guide Jon Tierney who has been climbing in Acadia since 1982. Jon has over 30 years of local and worldwide experience. The IFMGA requires full AMGA certification as a rock, alpine and ski mountaineering guide.
All AMGCS instructors are certified by either the AMGA or the PCIA and all guides have been trained or certified by the AMGA.
• Since 1994 •
AMGCS is the only climbing school in Maine to remain continuously accredited by the AMGA for eighteen years - several years longer than any other local service. We have had one or more full time AMGA certified rock instructors or rock guides on staff each year since 1994 - sixteen years more than any other local school.
• Since 2007 •
Experience the difference.
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