Two hands in a fist over my head.  It's not a formal test and something I saw Alex a pro patroller from Snowbird do years ago in our Level 3.  Gotta' show the students something ya' know. I pulled the block off and had the students feel the facets on the weak layer.
 
Mark P. Renson


On Wednesday, March 28, 2018 8:56 PM, Patrick Haskell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


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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