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So, at the, 31st tap are you jumping on the shovel like a snowblader's
version of a Rutschblock?

Great report. Thanks for sharing. Interesting reading the Avi report
discussing a winter snowpack after seeing so many sunny photos this Spring.
Makes me hopeful for mid April.

On Mar 27, 2018 10:00 PM, "Mark P. Renson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> So I got spruced up and headed to Pinkham Notch to meet up with Blake and
> the class. Blake turned out to be much better of an instructor and leader
> than I had thought and he earned a huge amount of respect from me for
> sure.  He is a professional teacher by trade and he has gained much
> experience instructing AIARE courses, completed his AIARE CLT and passed
> his Level 3 under Erica America in Silverton.  Up the Tux Trail we went
> with Blake and I swapping leads.  At the first switchback, we had a problem
> - a student was getting sick with Gawd knows what.  Blake and I tended to
> him and I encouraged him to keep at it but that there were also bail out
> points.  Yeah, he got it together and by the time we got to Harvard Cabin,
> he was much more confident and was on the program. To Huntington Ravine we
> went which had a significant crowd in the historic gullies and in The Fan,
> more people than I had ever seen.  Temps were relatively warm and winds
> were below subsonic. We did rescue and pit demos and terrain analysis.  On
> the descent, even with the deep snow some ruts and brush was to be had on
> the fire road which was a bit challenging for some of our students.  Up to
> Hermit Lake we went to check out terrain and Ranger Ryan was good enough to
> do some presenting.  Down the Sherburne we went.  Francisco from Madrid
> struggled a bit and I got him into wedges and snowplows, reminding him that
> the 3 most important turns in off-piste skiing are the kick turn, the
> sideslip and the snowplow. We fell behind but I also enjoyed encouraging
> him as he gradually started to crush wedges, snowplows and sideslips on his
> vintage Silvretta 404s!  By the time we got to the bottom, he was having as
> good a time as I was!
>
> We had a great end of day meeting as Blake went over some pretty serious
> stuff. At the end after our meeting, Ed an older gent came up to me and
> announced that he couldn't handle it and would probably not return the next
> day.  I worked hard to encourage him and reminded him that he was doing
> very well.
>
> That night, I headed to the bunkhouse at Hermit Lake arriving well before
> sunset and chipping away at my ascent times.  The price was right which is
> important as the prior week, AIARE Instructor Al and I at breakfast had to
> explain the importance to Ron of couch surfing, sleeping in vehicles, using
> hostels and bunkhouses in order to save money for the real cool stuff.
> Next morning, I was out the door at 6:30am and caught up with Hutmistress
> Sarah as I got some weather information from her which included 6.5cm of
> new light stuff - in Vermont while people are sleeping off their Hoppy
> Teader hangovers, we hod-a$$ 603 skiers are flexing our muscles and going
> SKIING!  Yeah, I nailed first tracks once again on the Sherburne at
> sunrise, ran into Bethann just starting an ascent to Harvard Cabin and I
> got my patroller breakfast discount at AMC Joe Dodge Lodge - earn your
> pancakes!  The Sherburne always amazes me with its ability to greatly
> improve with only a mere inch or 2.
>
> Nick and I joined the team at 8:30am, giving the students a half hour
> start on their trip plans.  Nick has had loads of Alaskan big mountain
> experience and caught the bug years ago when Peter Inglis gave a
> presentation at Mountain Hut in Anchorage of skiing in the Alaska and Saint
> Elias ranges.  Synnott Mountain Guides makes students do trip plans on the
> final day of their AIARE courses.  The good news is that discouraged Ed
> sucked it up and joined us and the ill student from the prior day was
> fine.  Up to Hermit Lake we went as we had students do many obs on the
> ascent.  We made our way into the Bowl where many lessons were done as
> temps again were moderate and winds below subsonic.  "Don't get used to
> this on this mountain" I advised everyone.  We had students do pits between
> Lobster Claw and Right gullies and found nothing but bomber snow in the
> steel slabs and firm snow except for a failure on the 38th tap (out of the
> box as 30 is the max for compression tests) on some 1-2mm facets.
>
> For the descent, Nick had me lead and I wanted students to get a unique
> experience skiing on the relatively smoothed runout of the burly avalanche
> that ripped loose from the left side of the Headwall/Peter Winn Gully and
> went skiers left of the Tucks Trail over the knob and down to the steps
> below Connection Cache in the last cycle. Then some tricky guerilla skiing
> through the krumholz and brush to Little Headwall.  At Little Headwall I
> finally got to execute a lesson I wanted to teach there and that was to
> better simulate skiing a descent down avalanche terrain which makes sense
> because the Little Headwall can rip loose occasionally.  I really went at
> it thoroughly which was satisfying and Olivia our Oregon native going to
> school at Am Erst College in Massachusetts did a stellar job of ripping the
> crusty tricky headwall.  Finished things up with me leading down the
> Sherburne as Francisco showed greatly improved skiing on those classic
> Silvretta 404s (dang, I shoulda snapped a pic of those) as once more he was
> a lotta fun to ski with.  In the Pack Room, we had our debriefing and some
> serious talk.  I thanked the class for a great time and told them that if
> they had half as much fun as I did, then I'd be very happy. At the end, one
> student thanked me for bringing up so much of the history of the
> Presidentials as I think it's important to give the students much of the
> Preseidential experience and part of that is the super deep history and
> tradition there and per the compliment, I reminded myself to keep that in
> my teachings.
>
>
>
> Mark P. Renson
>
>
> On Monday, March 26, 2018 9:16 PM, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>
> ..... be professional because:
>
> Last week, I got a very nice email from Mark Synnott thanking me for my
> work at the Backcountry Festival and encouraging me to come back next year.
> It appears that I am onto something with a 1 day Introduction to Avalanche
> and Rescue program that I had developed and might be getting favorable
> reviews which is a good thing because I enjoy running it. Furthermore, he
> needed me to work the 2 days of field sessions for an AIARE 1. I was to
> work with Blake on Saturday who wrote this: https://enjoytheturns.
> com/2017/04/08/human-triggered-avalanches-likely/  I've also known Blake
> for some time as he did intern work at Hermit Lake as part of a UNH grad
> program. For Sunday, I would work with Nick Aiello who runs the avalanche
> programs for Synnott Mountain Guides and has much big mountain experience
> in Alaska.
>
> More later as I gotta' catch up on sleep for 5:30am swim ........
>
> Mark P. Renson
>
>
> On Monday, March 26, 2018 8:57 PM, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>
> Today we got word that Team Waterville went 5 for 5 at the OEC exam last
> weekend at Ragged - 5 newbies crushed their 1st aid and will be getting
> "The Cross".
>
> The NorEaster turned into a NorIncher which made travel easy.  With the US
> Freestyle Championships happening, the prior Friday we were given the
> directive to get the place up to a Rio de Domingo standard ....... Skip,
> check this out: in late January, the Flight Commander and The Don (3rd in
> command) went to the Sunday River Patroller School (I went to the
> Killington one) and were blown away by how ship shape everything was with
> the perfectly vertical bamboo and taut ropes and every loose end imaginable
> tucked away, etc.  So, starting the prior Friday, we all went at it and
> Thursday morning I made extra sure that I was professional.  Dang, we
> patted ourselves on the back because admittedly, we did a great job and it
> was noticed. Nice turns were had during the day and very few if any
> incidents were had.  Apres ski, we went to T-Bars and whaddya know I saw a
> familiar face from Facebook with a smoking hot lass - it was semi-lurker
> Alan Belsky and his wife Robin.  Real good to meet those two as their kid
> Spencer was competing.
>
> For Friday, I got into the handles for practice with The Don who runs the
> Ski & Toboggan program for the NH Region.  We went through some very
> technical stuff down Ciao and Gema and later I took a practice sled out and
> trucked around the mountain to tinker with lessons learned. Later in the
> day I got a stern lesson from him regarding how to place a toboggan carry
> device (used to carry toboggans on the lift) on the chairlift for the ride
> down.  Surprisingly little avoids the radar at that place it seems and I
> just didn't know any better as I blew it.  Hey, now I know and I was glad
> we talked.  For sweep, Richard blew an assignment and I was very thorough
> as not only did I sweep my assigned Tangent/Periphery but also I ensure I
> duck into the Northside liftline to do a visual and make some turns before
> heading down into the Boneyard - I'm just more thorough than most.  At the
> end of the day, Richard fessed up and plunked in $2 into our communal boot
> so I obliged and confessed my mishandling of the toboggan carrying device.
> Still learning ya know.  The Don then broke out some fine bourbon from
> Texas which generated some controversy as our Commissioner of Bourbon -
> Jeff, not the PD - insists on nothing but Kentucky bourbon.  But the
> bourbon police wasn't around so we enjoyed a toast of the fine smooth Texas
> bourbon to celebrate the good times.
>
> Afterwards, I was on 'da Kanc, Conway bound.  I don't ever recall being on
> that road during mid Winter and I was impressed by the number of slides on
> the N aspect of the Osceola Range and also by the generous amount of snow
> along the road.  I spent the night in the White Mountain Hostel to
> organize, get a good nights sleep (helped by a few Tuckerman Headwall pints
> at the Mexican restaurant which is literally around the corner from the
> brewery so the beer was very fresh) and shave and shower to be professional
> because ......
>
>
>
>
> Mark P. Renson
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