On the second weekend of January, Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) sent nine members, along with three from Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue, to an intensive avalanche training workshop at Mount Cain.

Two full days were spent refreshing all avalanche-related skills, like snowpack evaluation, risk assessment, rescue scenarios, terrain strategies, and understanding weather and its implications.

Leading the program was Lyle Fast, a fully certified Association of Canadian Mountain Guides ski guide, and long-time associate of Mount Cain.

The group spent some of their time familiarizing themselves with the more popular out-of-bounds areas of the mountain, in preparation for any event where they may be needed in these areas.

CRSAR holds an event like this at least every other winter, to keep skills refreshed, and to be able to socialize in the evenings in a cabin, which is a rare opportunity for most of the members.

Tim Fairbank, a search manager with the group, pointed out “I’m especially pleased that we were able to invite some of our counterparts from the Comox Valley, since we often do work together on tasks, so training together is important.

Trevor Provost, Mountain Rescue team leader with CRSAR, said, “The best part about this year’s training was that everyone came with some level of formal training already, so we were able to take our skills to the next level.”

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Winter recreationists, whether they are alpine skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoers or backcountry skiers, are reminded that if you go into uncontrolled mountainous terrain, carry a beacon, probe and shovel, and take a course in avalanche awareness. Courses are available locally from Island Alpine Guides: .