MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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March 11, 2013

Coworkers Team Building in Avalanche Course!

Seems like I keep hearing people mention the word “Spring” around town in Seattle. However, for those who love to spend time in the mountains this time of year, we know that winter is still very much control. Mountain Madness Ski Guide and Avalanche Instructor Dallas Glass spent three days with five employees from Seattle area based Yukon Trading Company exploring snow, weather, and avalanche education. It was a great opportunity for these coworkers to enjoy the backcountry and exercise good team building! Keep the team building happening this summer with 3 or 4-day ascents of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan or Mount Adams!

Recovering from “Strategic Shoveling” practice; Rebecca and Kevin
enjoy the winter sunshine at Stevens Pass.  Ryan Spivey photo

“I just came back down from spending 6 straight days skiing in the mountains around Stevens Pass. I must say as I walked to my local coffee shop this morning to sit with a cup of coffee and read, I was surprised to see the trees leafing out, the flowers beginning to bloom, and the sun warming my face. There’s no doubt about it, Spring is in the air here in Seattle. But for folks like me and five employees of Yukon Trading Company, we know winter isn’t over and there is still plenty of snow in the mountains and more on the way. 

Showing some color for the camera, Ryan Spivey finds some soft
snow in the upper Nason Creek drainage. Dallas Glass photo

"Teaching AIARE Level 1 avalanche courses for Mountain Madness is my favorite part about the winter. There’s just something about seeing people get excited and knowledgeable about enjoying the mountains. What made my recent avalanche course even more special was it was five co-workers from Seattle area based Yukon Trading Company. Each of them works intimately in the outdoor industry: rep-ing for several large outdoor gear companies, holding demo days, and marketing the latest products to us the outdoor recreationist. It was great to see the support of the company in making sure its employees had the opportunity to learn about avalanche education and it functioned as a wonderful team building exercise.

Traveling wisely in avalanche terrain, the group works together
to stay safe as they hike back to the saddle. Dallas Glass photo

"A great part about teaching a custom Level 1 course is that I get to focus on the goals and objectives of the group. We decided that we wanted to spend as much time learning outside as possible. So, just a few hours into day one of our three day course we were in our skis heading out to Grace Lakes for a little companion rescue practice. After some initial instruction and practice we divided into two teams for a little game I like to call “Avalanche Hide and Go Seek”. Seems like as soon as we make companion rescue practice into a game people become much more competitive. Add into that equation that these were five co-workers, and…well you get the idea. Beacons were hid under trees, over a meter deep, and in one case turned off, all in the name of fun and learning. 

Pat setting his skis on edge and showing why 4-6” of new
snow on a rain crust can make for fun skiing. Dallas Glass photo

"With a solid foundation in companion rescue and a little more time inside learning the nuts and bolts of avalanches, we ventured back outside to look deep into the snowpack. While standing around in a snowpit for a few hours is rarely my idea of a good time; it’s a great opportunity to watch as folks apply their new knowledge about layers in the snow and how to assess avalanche hazard. 

Picking up some backcountry boarding skills, Leah is ready to make some
turns on the way back to the car. Dallas Glass photo

"For those who have been reading my avalanche course blogs this winter, you know what’s next…we went skiing. Day three of the course began with a tour plan as everyone decided what terrain was safe, where we would avoid, and where the best snow would be. As we hiked we made more and more observations confirming what we expected concerning avalanche hazard. By the time we reached the saddle in the ridge we were confident that the north facing slopes below us would not only be safe but fun skiing. Some laughs and cheers erupted from the group as their friends/co-workers arced turns through the softer north-facing snow. Now, it was time to head back to the cars. Working as a team the group navigated complex avalanche terrain. What better way to build teamwork amongst co-workers than to go backcountry skiing!

"Yep, it may be sunny here in Seattle and the trees may be turning green, but for me and my new friends at the Yukon Trading Company winter isn’t over. Our time playing in the mountains has just taken a great leap forward."

~ MM Guide Dallas Glass