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Backcountry Rescue 101

Testimonials from our alumni

  • "I completed a 2-day backcountry rescue course collaboratively taught by Mountain Med and Kootenay Backcountry Guides. Jill’s medical knowledge, coupled with her backcountry experience skills, makes her an excellent instructor to gain skills in wilderness medical emergencies. The real-life situation scenarios specifically designed for backcountry touring and remote environments ensured you gain comprehensive skills, tools, and resources to prepare you to respond to emergencies in the backcountry. There were significant opportunities for hands-on learning, which made for a practical learning experience. I would recommend taking a course with Jill."

  • "One of the best first aid courses I've taken. I thought Jill was an awesome instructor, very accommodating of different learning types, and taught the material very clearly. She engaged everyone in the class and made sure everyone had an opportunity to be equally as hands-on, which is crucial for learning skills in first aid response. Would for sure recommend her courses."

  • "Excellent WAFA course with Jill. This should be mandatory learning for anyone spending time in the backcountry. Jill is a great teacher and communicates the important concepts of wilderness medicine very well."

Course Overview:

A significant challenge of avalanche rescue is dealing with the issues that arise after the victims are extracted. Physical trauma, hypothermia, and how and where to get help are some challenges you may face. AST courses and traditional companion rescue courses teach you how to find and extract someone from under the snow. However, they rarely go in-depth with teaching you how to deal with injuries and the prospect of spending a night out in the field. 

Kootenay Backcountry Guides has teamed up with Jill Weenink of Mountain Med Consulting to create a course where we teach you valuable practical first aid skills and combine them with backcountry rescue skills.

This course is a must for anyone looking for practical backcountry rescue skills.

You will receive:

  • Wilderness First Aid - 16hr certification 
  • CPR-A Certification 

The best and most comprehensive course of its kind to offer relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities or short-term wilderness endeavours and pursuits. Wilderness First Aid is a two-and-a-half-day introduction to general medical concepts and basic life support skills. This course is designed for outdoor enthusiasts on day trips or short adventures. 

In our course specifically, we will be covering: 

  • Thermoregulation 
  • Hypowraps 
  • Cold Injuries 
  • Medical Aspects of an Avalanche Rescue 
  • Musculoskeletal injuries 
  • Deadly Bleeds
  • Respiratory Emergencies 
  • Anaphylaxis 

In addition to the first aid component of  this course, you will learn:

  • What to expect from SAR crews who might respond to your call for help. 
  • The best ways to communicate to outside resources
  • What to expect and how to respond after you dig an injured person out of an avalanche. 
  • How and when to use improvised rescue systems to transport injured people over the snow. 
  • Shelter and thermoregulation strategies for staying overnight. 

What To Expect

  • Day 1

    We will start things off with an evening classroom session reviewing first aid assessment and theory. You need to bring the touring equipment you carry in your backpack. 

  • Day 2

    Will be spent in town. We will run plenty of scenarios to give you a baseline for first aid. In addition, we will be practicing skills in the classroom and outdoors.

  • Day 3

    We will apply classroom training in the field. We will tour the backcountry for a day of first aid and backcountry rescue skills practice. Snowshoes or ski equipment are appropriate.

Dates & Costs:

Courses may be held at either Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry. We may use the ski lifts to access the backcountry for courses hosted in the Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry. If you are not a season pass holder, single-ride tickets must be purchased on the day of your tour.

Join our waitlist!

Last-minute cancelations happen all the time. If the dates you were hoping to join are sold out fill out the waitlist and be notified when spots become available. 

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