MTR-Avalanche-Nordic Instructors on the move!

MTR-Avalanche-Nordic Instructors on the move!

2015-09-12 06.36.20

It was a darker than normal night as I headed out at 4am, what happened to the stars?  As I climbed into the boat for my water commute to the car, I realized what was going on.  The clear skies had led to radiational cooling of the earth and a ground fog had developed over the water.  Not a big deal, unless you live on an Island and have to cross open water to get to the car.  As I pushed off the dock, I noted its orientation, adjusted my course, and hoped to see the navigation buoys come into view, soon.

I was headed to an MTR program at the Mount Greylock Ski Club in Western MA where two NH MTR Instructors would work with Western MA candidate instructors to deliver an MTR enhancement program.  Subjects to taught included land navigation and2015-09-12 13.30.57 emergency shelters.  It was just shy of a 4 hour drive, but I was looking forward to the program and visiting the Mount Greylock Ski Club.  The ski club runs the area that is a nestled into the Greylock Mountain State Reservation.  Their tow ropes serve varied terrain and the narrow access “road” is one way.   Until 2:30pm, up only, and then downhill only after 2:30.  Coming from another small ski area, this would be a treat.

The buoys soon came into view, and I altered my course for the final leg of my water commute.  The fog was so thick, I could only see inside my boat.  No lights from the shore, no stars above, nothing but damp darkness.  My flashlight was useless.

The Mountain Travel and Rescue(MTR) program, is one of the disciplines that the National Ski Patrol offers its membership and the general public.  Expert volunteer
instructors teach 17 core topics that include Low Angle Rescue, Land Navigation, Search and Rescue techniques, and winter mountain travel   Soon, another set of navigation buoys came out of thIMG_2164-001e fog, but there shouldn’t be another set.  I should be on shore, at the landing dock.  Where am I?  That’s when I started to laugh.  Any other time, this could be a scary lost situation.  Fear is the usual emotion when lost, but training and experience provide me with a different emotion, annoyance.  Normally if this happens, I could just motor until I found shore and then follow it back to my dock, or pull out a cushion and take a nap, waiting for the fog to lift.  The laughter was because of what I had on board.  I’m headed to teach an MTR course, I have no less than 8 compasses and GPS units sitting right beside me.  All I need to do is unzip my bag and pull one out.  My annoyance is now amusement, and I decide to explore the fog a little further.

In mid-September every year, Avalanche, MTR, and Nordic Instructors from across the Eastern Division come together to refresh their skills and teaching methods.  This year the program is hosted by the Northfield Mountain Ski Patrol in Western, MA on September 19th.

A quick mental assessment of these new buoys, and I decide I could have done two things – gone in a big circle, or somehow turned due east and ended up heading away from the landing.  Figuring it was the latter, I turned again and hoped something would come into view.IMG_2172-001

With the new ski season coming into view, could you benefit from one of our programs?  Start checking Region, Division, and National program calendars.  What are you going to do to build your knowledge and experience this winter?  Are you ready to keep your party safe in avalanche terrain, do you know what avalanche terrain is?  Can you lead a search and rescue for a missing guest in your areas side country?  Navigate, travel, and search in the winter environment?  Overnight?  And, then extract a patient?  Join us for just such a program.  In NH, an MTR1 program is scheduled for November 21st and 22nd at Black Mountain in Jackson, NH.  An MTR 2 program is scheduled for two weekends, January and February, in the White Mountains.  Registration will be on, all are welcome.  Look for additional programs on other Patrol websites.


Finally, the light at the landing is visible through the fog.  But I’m coming at it from the completely wrong angle.  I must have turned to the east at the first navigation buoy.  Another adventure in navigation is over, what’s your next adventure?

Hope to see you at an NSP course, or in the backcountry!

Craig Garland
NH MTR Advisor

Eastern Division Nordic Fest 2011

This year’s Eastern Division Nordic Fest promises to repeat the success of the past. This year’s hosts, the Genesee Valley Nordic Ski Patrol have organized a terrific weekend with a great opportunity to reinforce skiing and other nordic skills. Come enjoy the camaraderie of fellow patrollers and have fun. We promise that you will meet lots of great people and make many new friends.

The dates are Friday evening through Sunday, March 4th through 6th. The place is in and around Honeoye, New York, in the scenic Finger Lakes Region.  Follow this link to the official Eastern Division NORDIC FEST 2011 web page.


Nordic patrol training

A veiw from Harriet Hollister Spencer state recreation area, overlooking Honeoye Lake