Excerpt from an interview with Jason Smith of Scenic Safaris.
Why does Scenic Safaris offer avalanche courses?
We’ve had friends and seeing people that we care about make poor decisions and put themselves into predicaments on their time away. We feel it’s imperative to teach seasoned snowmobiling enthusiasts the component of safety that can get easily overlooked as powerful and as capable as these machines are today.
Having that extra bit of knowledge in a couple different areas that will show people that are travelling to this area for the fourth or fifth time they know the area but the conditions of the maritime snow pack varies throughout the entire valley so we’re teaching avalanche classes essentially for the sake of the snowmobilers and the snowmobile owners. If they can take a day out to learn, it may save your life a week from now.
We focus a lot with our guides to make sure that we’re making smart decisions and that we’re keeping our clients safe. So avalanche courses go into the realm of if you’re going to go out there by yourself, you don’t need us to guide you because you know where you’re going. But you may need a little bit more information on route to take or a path not to travel or an area you just shouldn’t go whooping or maybe you just take the day off because the snow’s just too dangerous.
The people that are going to be looking for that course are the people that have invested $20,000 in the snowmobile, $15,000 in extra components and they have driven themselves out to Jackson in a really nice trailer, really nice truck, and they’ve got a group of three to seven people that they’re going to have a good trip on their own time.
It just may need a little extra background into our snow pack and all the mountains and the aspects that we deal with on a day to day basis from a guidance standpoint because we’re out there telling you that that’s not a good idea. That person on the handlebars is the only way he gets to make that decision so we to try to keep the general public and the growing snowmobiling community as fast as possible.
What are the different avalanche courses you offer?
We have two guys that I trained years ago and they’ve started this snowmobile avalanche class because they’ve seen a lot of the guiding realm as we all have. The Snowmobiling safety is their biggest point and they’ve essentially taken it on themselves to become two of the top Avalon certified teachers in the Western United States.
Their avalanche courses can be just a few days or an entire week and it involves components of sitting down in the classroom and learning about all the details in the facet and snow, the digging pits and layered levels and all the different types of snow packs. Then there can be a very abbreviated course that’s just a day and then there’s also a four or five day course that they offer also.