Revelstoke is a special place for those who love the mountains. We’re surrounded by world class backcountry and some of the most accessible big mountain terrain in the whole of western Canada. The powerful mix of huge mountains and fresh powder is a combo few of us can resist, so here are some of our top tips for staying safe in the mountains this winter.
There’s no such thing as the side country, or slack country.
It might be easy to get to, but you’re in the backcountry as soon as you slide past the boundary rope. You need to be prepared to ride there, even if you’re staying close to the ski area.
Get the gear (and know how to use it).
Whenever you’re venturing out of bounds, you’ll need to get the right gear and make sure you know how to use it. A transceiver (sometimes called a beacon), probe, and shovel are essential equipment. Make sure you’re trained with your gear and practicing regularly.
Get the training.
An Avalanche Canada Training course is an essential if you’re thinking of heading into the backcountry, whether on skis, a snowboard, a sled, or snowshoes. There are courses to suit all experience levels and disciplines. Taking a course is a great opportunity to learn and meet other likeminded people too. Your best tool in an emergency is yourself, so make sure you’ve got the knowledge you need.
Get the forecast.
To make good decisions, you’ll need to know what avalanche conditions you’re likely to encounter. The daily forecasts at avalanche.ca are the best place to get this information. The forecast will give you info on the snowpack, travel advice for terrain to seek out or avoid, and an idea of what to expect in the following days. Download the free Avalanche Canada app to get the forecasts on your phone (available on iOS or Android).
Remember, avalanche terrain isn’t always easy to spot.
Even if you’re not standing on steep slopes, you can still be in danger. Remember to look up and be aware of what’s around you. Head to avalanche.ca to learn more about what kind of terrain to look out for.
Check if you need a winter permit.
If you’re heading to Rogers Pass, you’ll need a winter permit and to know what areas are closed for the day. Access to the National Park for winter recreation relies on compliance with the rules.
Want to learn more, find a course, or an event near you? Avalanche.ca has course listings, an online tutorial, and lots of other helpful tools to help you know more, go farther, and come home safe.
Who is Avalanche Canada? We are Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization. Based in Revelstoke, the organization’s aim is to encourage and educate people to recreate safely in the winter backcountry by developing, coordinating, promoting, and delivering world-class public avalanche safety programs and services in Canada.