The ACCVI Education Program exists to facilitate courses and workshops for members that will: prepare them to participate in ACCVI trips, assist them in pursuing their outdoor goals, and develop the skills required as ACCVI Trip Leaders.
We strive to provide quality instruction, to engage your participation, and to support inclusivity.
1) Quality Instruction
Our instructional offerings include “courses” and “workshops”. Our courses are instructed by professionally-certified guides, whereas our workshops are led by experienced members who volunteer their time and expertise. Using this hybrid approach ensures that the technical instruction is of the highest quality, while leveraging the valuable experience of our member base.
Course instructors are certified by applicable Canadian organizations, such as the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. The ACCVI’s longstanding relationship with outstanding local professionals allows us to offer these courses at great rates. These guides are skilled at managing and instructing groups, imparting technical skills, and have expert qualifications in rescue and first aid. Many courses, such as Avalanche Safety Level 1, offer a nationally-recognized certificate of completion to successful participants. Courses are offered on beginner, intermediate, and advanced topics.
Workshops are led by skilled volunteer ACCVI leaders. These are often offered shortly after courses, and offer an excellent opportunity to practice and review the skills presented in a course. Workshops are also a great way to brush up on seasonal skills, or to further your proficiency with particular tools. Although volunteer leaders adhere to codes of conduct and recommendations set by the national ACC, members take full and active responsible for their own safety and enjoyment on workshops.
We are proud of the courses and workshops that ACCVI offers, and they are very popular. Courses tend to run at capacity, and workshops frequently have a waitlist. Running them requires a significant investment of our time and energy! Minimum skills and equipment are always listed, and we urge you to discuss your levels of fitness and experience with us prior to registering, to ensure a good fit. Some courses and workshops require a course fee to guarantee your place. The success of the Education Section’s courses and workshops relies on your commitment to participate fully!
Courses and workshops are intended for members in good standing, meaning that members may be unwelcome on future course and workshop registrations if they:
– are a no-show for a course or workshop,
– drop out after a designated date,
– misrepresent their pre-requisite skills and fitness,
– willfully disrupt or detract from a course or workshop,
– endanger others by their actions on a course or workshop,
– fail to take appropriate responsibility for themselves in the wilderness environment.
The ACCVI Section will strive to make offer educational opportunities equally to all ACCVI members. While some courses or workshops may be targeted to specific audiences, on a year-to-year basis, all ACCVI members will have equal access to educational offerings.
What’s the difference between a Trip, a Course, and a Workshop?
A course is taught by a certified professional guide, and follows their established curriculum. Fees apply for courses, and these are set by the agency offering the course in conjunction with ACCVI. Guides have a professional duty-of-care for participants, and are experienced in maximizing your enjoyment. Specialized gear is generally provided.
A workshop is led by experienced volunteer members, and follows an outline which is approved by the Education Section of ACCVI. Workshops have specific learning outcomes which are detailed in the description. They have low fees and are very popular among members! Participants take active responsibility for their own safety and enjoyment of a workshop. Personal gear is generally required.
A trip is posted by members looking for others to join them in an activity. These trips cover a wide range of activities, terrain, duration, and difficulty. Trips are not intended to be instructional in nature.
Why do you charge for courses and workshops?
Courses are taught by full-time instructors who accept a professional duty-of-care and adhere to recognized standards of performance and skills updating. Course fees cover the instructor’s costs and certain gear, and are set by the company offering the course on behalf of ACCVI.
Workshops are led by volunteers and workshop fees do not go into volunteers’ pockets! Fees cover volunteers’ expenses (such as gas), certain supplies, and venues. Experience has demonstrated that these nominal fees also reduce no-shows and drop-outs. Fees for volunteer-led workshops also support the ACCVI Course Subsidy Program.
Rates for courses and workshops vary, but are always posted in the description. For more information on the Education Section budget, please see the ACCVI budget.
Where is your course schedule?
Course and workshop offerings will vary. A sample of annual and occasional course are listed below. The current offerings always appear on the ACCVI Trip Schedule.
How can I lead a workshop?
We welcome ACCVI members who are interested in leading educational workshops. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact us using the email at the bottom of the page (also found here), and we will gladly work with you to prepare the curriculum, and establish outcomes for your workshop. We can also help arrange for venues, facilitate the collection of course fees, etc.
Why do I have to sign a waiver?
This is required by ACC national policies. The waiver is available to view here. Courses may also require that the member sign a waiver for the professional guide’s company.
What are the prerequisites for joining a course or workshop?
The skills and equipment to be self-sufficient in the backcountry are presumed for all advanced and technical courses.
For introductory courses and workshops, the description will indicate what pre-requisite skills are required. For example, for Intro to Rock Climbing, participants must be comfortable car-camping, including managing their own food and potable water, setting up their tent site, and keeping themselves warm and dry during three full days outdoors, rain or shine.
What if I need gear for courses or workshops?
It is expected that you will own certain pieces of gear in order to participate. Other gear can be rented from the club or from local outdoor retailers. A technical gear list is always provided in the description of the course or workshop. A detailed list of items required for you to be self-sufficient in the backcountry is NOT provided for every course and workshop!
Who takes care of my travel and food?
You must be prepared to assume responsibility for these elements. Carpooling can be facilitated, and groups of members may choose to cook together. Please contact the course or workshop leader for more details.
Are courses and workshops all-inclusive (ie, fully catered)?
No. Please see above about gear, food, and travel. If you are looking for an all-inclusive backcountry adventure, please contact an outdoor school. These providers often have courses which include food, gear, accommodation, and travel.
Do I have to be a member of ACCVI to take a course or workshop?
Generally, yes. Our courses and workshops are always popular and there are usually waitlists, so we offer priority for active ACC members. Information on joining the ACC is available here.
Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Leaders: ACCVI Volunteers
Format: Workshop — Overnight Trip
Overview: Learn the basics of backcountry skiing in this workshop. Open to telemarkers, alpine tourers and splitboarders. Workshop covers equipment, snow travel and unique features of winter in the backcountry.
Avalanche Skills Training (AST1) Course
Format: Course – two days
Overview: Students will learn to recognize avalanche terrain, gain the skills to initiate and manage a self rescue, have a basic understanding of how weather contributes to avalanche hazard, be able to understand and interpret avalanche bulletins and the hazard scale, be able to interpret and utilize the Avaluator card, and learn basic analysis of layers in the snowpack. (Text is from IAG website)
Introduction to Rock Climbing
Timeframe: Spring (May/June)
Leaders: Hybrid (Professional & ACCVI Volunteers)
Format: Evening preparatory session followed by 3-day weekend (day-long professional course followed by two-day volunteer-led workshop)
Overview: Intended to introduce beginners to outdoor rock climbing. Course participants will learn the basic skills needed for a day of top roping at the crags including belaying, rappelling, and anchor building.
Timeframe: Spring (April/May)
Format: Course – one day
Overview: Focused day of crevasse rescue training, which can act as both an introduction to these skills or as a refresher. Training is on the technical systems used for crevasse rescue. (Text is from IAG website)
Introduction to Mountaineering: Steep Snow
Timeframe: Spring (June/July)
Leaders: ACCVI Volunteers
Format: Day-long preparatory workshop, followed by 3-day workshop in the alpine
Overview: Workshop will introduce beginners to elements of non-glaciated mountaineering. Trip participants will practice the basic skills needed to climb and descend the occasional pitch of steep spring/summer snow, and practice rappelling in mountain terrain.
There are a number of workshops that are offered on an occasional basis, when there is enough demand or when a volunteer leader has provided an interest in leading them. Following are a sampling of offerings from recent years.
Intro to Winter Camping & Intro to Backpacking
Leaders: ACCVI Volunteers
Overview: Introductory trips for ACCVI members who are new to overnight backpacking trips, in either a summer or winter setting.
AST+ / AST2
Format: Multi-day course
Overview: Advanced avalanche course which takes a closer look at how avalanches form and how to manage more complex terrain. Course delves deeper into the snowpack to learn how to apply different tests to help gain an understanding of snow stability and strength. Transceiver training moves into the realm of multiple beacon searches and how to solve these sometimes complex searches. The AST1 or equivalent training or experience are required as a prerequisite for this course. (Text is from IAG website)
Trip Planning / Navigation
Leaders: Professional or ACCVI Volunteers
Overview: A number of trips are targeted to assist participants in planning trips using an array of GIS/GPS technologies, or navigating in the wilderness.
Leaders: ACCVI Volunteers
Format: Evening classroom session
Overview: Discussion of menu-planning for backcountry trips, including the preparation and sampling of a number of backcountry meals.
Format: Day-long course
Overview: A course featuring all kinds of techniques to manage tricky situations in the mountains. Curriculum will include principals of anchor building with an emphasis on improvised anchors using trees, boulders, jammed knots, threads and much else. Rappelling safety including various back-up methods, multiple rappel techniques and rope options. (Text is from IAG website)
Overview: A range of first aid courses will be offered, from standard first aid to more advanced wilderness-specific first aid courses.
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