I love it when hard work results in a phone call that rewards you for your effort. I recently got a call from a friend thanking me for getting him involved with NAOI and helping to improve his snow smart mentality.
Christopher Constant was excited as he told me he’d passed through an avalanche gate for the first time fully prepared with a shovel, probe, and beacon. He did admit he still needs more training on how to use them, but he’s come a long way since I first introduced him to the gear a year ago. But it was his snow sense he was most proud of.
“I was riding chair six and I saw cracks forming under a steep inbounds slope,” he explained. “So when we got to the top I went to the ski patrol station and gave them the location.”
He was pleased when the patroller followed him down to the area to investigate. Watching from a safe distance, he saw the patroller jump on the slope with all of his might and break off a slab 30 X 40 with a three inch crown sending it tumbling down the mountain.
“I literally saw my very first avalanche in action and had my eyes peeled open at the sheer power,” Constant said. “I calculated it out and that pro snapped the trap and sent more than 14,000 cubic feet of snow tumbling down the slope. I kept thinking that if someone had been buried under that, it would have totally sucked! Sure made me realize, I have a lot more to learn about this stuff.”
The best news was when he finished by telling me he’d signed up for a three day Avalanche Level 1 course with Alaska Avalanche School and is reading ‘Snow Sense.’
There is nothing better than hearing from the people that have been positively impacted by our efforts at NAOI and to watch them become more aware and recreate safely.
Thanks Christopher Constant for calling to share your story!
Call 907-376-2898 to learn more about our programs, share your story, volunteer, or become a member!
Mitchell Brown, Anchorage, Alaska: ‘Awesome! Keep doing it the way you are.’
Travis Robertson, Barrow, Alaska: ‘I liked the rope thing at the end best! Almost everything I learned today was something new. Thank you for coming.’
Donald O, North Pole, Alaska: ‘That was cool and I want to do it again.’
Eric VanNice, Kenai, Alaska: “I really loved this stuff and I want to do more.’
Doug Thissen, Sutton, Alaska: “The combination of video, powerpoint and hands on makes this very effective. Dan and Sam were great instructors. Thanks for doing this!”
Richard Valentine, Palmer, Alaska: “For me, this was a new experience. It was really great to see how a backcountry rescue works and to use the equipment and learn about snow.”
Zach Cuchno, Fairbanks, Alaska: “Great instructor. I learned about terrain traps and what a toilet bowl is. Great information.”
John Snelders, Valdez, Alaska: “Great job. I learned not to ride where past avalanches have been and I didn’t know that before even though I’ve been riding in Alaska for years. Thanks!”
Gary Evans, Fairbanks, Alaska: “Great presentation. You guys taught me a lot. Everything I learned today was new.”
Inger Hanson, Anchorage, Alaska: “Awesome! I Would like to see this done more often to give more chance to practice and for more people to participate.”
Cecil Sanders, Palmer Alaska: “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to take pictures (during the Hatcher’s Pass Avalanche Game.) We had fun and learned a lot. It was an enjoyable experience. We are very interested in the Arctic Valley Games too!”
Molly Meader, Anchorage, Alaska: “Thanks so much for a great day playing AVALANCHE! the game. This program serves more than just teaching about using the right equipment in the backcountry. It teaches that you can go out and have as much fun as you want as long as you are aware of your surroundings and follow safety protocols. It gives you a confidence to go outside and really live with your surroundings.”Comments (1)