Item: Avalanche training at nols - the state of our program
Title: Avalanche training at nols - the state of our program
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2000 International Snow Science Workshop, October 1-6, Big Sky, Montana
Authors: Allen O'Bannon and Don Sharaf, National Outdoor leadership School, Lander, Wyoming
Abstract: The National Outdoor leadership School (NOlS) has been operating since 1965 and running winter courses since the winter of 1970. Winter courses run in several mountain ranges of NW Wyoming and SEldaho. On average there are -2500 winter student days and 400+ staff training days. In the past five years we have typically run eight winter-specific courses each year, and 14 winter sections - part of our semester programs. Over the years, the training for winter instructors has evolved from a "have you ever been on skis before" approach to our current program. The road to our current level of staff training was not entirely smooth, and we learned some valuable lessons the hard way. The lessons have been incorporated into our level 1 and level 2 Professional Avalanche Seminars, Winter Instructor Seminar (ten days of winter camping and travel in avalanche terrain), and training days that run prior to the start of all winter courses. Better training of our instructors has resulted in higher achieving courses for our students. All winter courses teach at least an avalanche awareness curriculum, and some meet the level 1 guidelines of the American Association of Avalanche Professionals. Through examination of our current avalanche training program we hope to present an effective model for other programs developing their avalanche training.
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Keywords: avalanche education, nols, professional avalanche training, outdoor education
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