Backcountry got into full swing during the month of February! We now have both the Mini Mountaineers and the 4-month program going. The Minis are just getting going, and the 4 Month program is working on avalanche classes. Coaches have been very impressed with some of the motivation of the younger kids in the Mini Mountaineers program... these 10–12 year olds are skinning up to the top of Snow King during after-school practices, and sometimes even passing the older group! During the GTNP day, we had one 12-year old, Brayden, nearly reach the summit of Wimpies, with a couple of his friends not far behind. This is a great accomplishment for anyone, let alone someone who only has a couple of weeks of skinning under their belt.
Most of the athletes in the 4 Month program were busy this month with their Avalanche level 1 course. We had two field days fully focused on avalanche fundamentals, as well as an online learning module. During this course, athletes focus on avalanche rescue scenarios, the anatomy of avalanches, understanding the avalanche / weather forecast, and ski tour planning. We also had the opportunity to work with Teton County SAR at their hanger for a few hours of basic first aid training. All of this sets the foundation for an athlete's future in the backcountry. After completing this course, athletes will begin to take the lead in planning and guiding our ski trips as a group in Grand Teton National Park.
We hope to have both groups get on top of some Teton summits as the days get longer in March. Be on the lookout for what is to come!