20100417

Course Format, Syllabus, Dates

Course dates and venues are as follows during the 2016-17 season for the three separate Modules:
  1. October 29 (Saturday), Northfield Mountain MA (driving directions)
  2. TBD (possibly two midweek days, depending on schedules for Module 1 graduates), Mount Washington NH based out of the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center (PNVC) & Joe Dodge Lodge
  3. TBD (single weekend day, but probably not for current season), Northfield Mountain MA (if natural snow available) or Berkshire East MA
Module 1 can be taken by itself, either as a de facto refresher, or to meet the prerequisites for a different instructor's NSP Module 2, or to prepare for field sessions with a non-NSP avalanche instructor or mountain guide.
(Note that Module 3 is of interest only for patrollers planning to take NSP Level 2 or needing training in organized group rescue -- otherwise, Modules 1 + 2 = a complete Level 1 avalanche course, meeting the prerequisite for a Level 2 course from AIARE or some other non-NSP provider.)

Details

Module 1 ("Avalanche Foundations"), as outlined in the downloadable syllabus, starts with classroom activities and outdoor rescue practice, then concludes (for those student continuing to Module 2) with preparation for Module 2 (both to cover gear issues, and to take a fitness-assessment hike).
In addition to your winter gear, bring a lunch, as on-site food is unavailable and you will not have time to travel off-site for food.

Module 2 ("Avalanche Safety & Rescue Skills") starts at 6:30 the first morning with breakfast at the AMC's PNVC. (All students are very strongly encouraged to drive up the prior evening and stay in Joe Dodge Lodge.)
After some initial discussions, we head out for a full-day tour (as summarized here), including snowpit demonstrations by the instructors and also student rescue practice.
We return in time to put away gear and prepare for the following day.
We reconvene for dinner at 6:00 in the AMC's PNVC to debrief the day's tour.
After dinner, students present their Presidentials tour plans in the PNVC diorama room, then students present their Western tour plans in a Joe Dodge lounge.

All students are required (as detailed on the Student Checklist) to reserve a bunk at the AMC's Joe Dodge Lodge Saturday night.
Course activities start up again at the following morning at 6:30 breakfast followed by another full tour, with the ultimate goal to have all students on the road heading home by 5:00 in the afternoon.

Module 3 ("Organized Avalanche Rescue") will be held on a single weekend day at a ski area in Western Massachusetts, probably Northfield (if natural snow is available) or Berkshire East.

Finally, note that dogs are prohibited from all course modules.  Also, attendance at the course is restricted to enrolled students. Friends, family, etc., are certainly welcome to join in the many recreational opportunities available to the public at Northfield Mountain and at Pinkham Notch, but they should not plan on listening in, observing, tagging along, etc. during course activities.

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