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Sat, Feb 20


Kent Mountain Adventure Center

Veteran Recreational Level 1 Avalanche Course led by Josh Jesperson

HCVA is paying the tuition for six veterans to attend a Silverton Avalanche School Recreational Level 1 Avalanche Course. This will be hosted by Kent Mountain Adventure Center in Estes Park, CO.

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Veteran Recreational Level 1 Avalanche Course led by Josh Jesperson
Veteran Recreational Level 1 Avalanche Course led by Josh Jesperson

Time & Location

Feb 20, 2021, 8:00 AM – Feb 21, 2021, 5:00 PM

Kent Mountain Adventure Center, 520 Steamer Pkwy, Estes Park, CO 80517, USA

About the Event

Taught in partnership with Silverton Avalanche School (SAS) and at the Kent Mountain Adventure Center, the Recreational Level 1 Course begins the basic foundation for understanding avalanche hazards and developing safe travel practices in and around avalanche terrain. The goal is for students to learn the basics of snow pack science, terrain analysis, and to give each student a framework with which to make decisions. There are many ways to teach this material and our goal is not to, “scare you out of the mountains,” instead we start by learning why some places hold the potential for avalanches and some do not and how to identify each. A lifetime of great winter adventures can be spent in the mountains outside of avalanche terrain, and if you choose to venture into steeper, snowier terrain this course will help lay the groundwork for good decisions.

This 26 hour course involves instruction, video and discussion, and at least 16 hours of fieldwork. Students will also learn the elements of companion avalanche rescue and practice using realistic scenarios. Unlike past years, instead of a long classroom day on the first day we will use SAS’s online education portal to virtually instruct the classroom lessons, then spend two long days almost entirely in the field.

The course is designed for all types of backcountry travelers: snowshoers, backcountry skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers, ski patrol, and mountain guides.

 Course Logistics 

Cost: $100 Deposit Refunded Upon Course Completion, HCVA will pay for Tuition Costs

Cost Includes: Level 1 Avalanche Course Manual, Waterproof Field Book, and Level 1 certificate upon successful completion of the course.

Not Included: Lodging, Food, and Transportation.

Cancellation Policy:   100% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start.  No deposit refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. 100% of the $100 deposit will be refunded upon completion of the course. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Improved Avalanche Judgement and Decision-making Skills
  • Expanded Situational Awareness and Perceptual Capacities
  • Human influence in group dynamics
  • Applying the Current Avalanche Bulletin to Tour Planning
  • Develop a trip plan based on snowpack, weather and terrain options
  • Make and record field observations

Course Curriculum:

  • Tour Preparation
  • Analyzing avalanche forecasts
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Recognizing hazardous conditions
  • Snowpack Metamorpism
  • Route Finding and Travel Techniques
  • Using Observations and Tests
  • Human Factors
  • Educated Decision-Making
  • Mountain Weather
  • Safe Travel Protocols
  • Introduction to Snow Pits
  • Group Management
  • Snow layer analysis
  • Risk evaluation

Course Lead  Instructor - Josh Jesperson @joshjespersen

Josh has been working as a guide, educator, and outdoor facilitator since he separated from the military in 2011. This work has taken him to the wild places and great ranges all over our country. Moving through the mountains is something he learned as the pointman and lead climber for his unit in the SEAL teams. It was his job to get everyone through austere environments safely. He loves carrying that role forward, and allowing people to see the mountains in a new way. Whether it is an adaptive athlete, new recreationalist, or experienced professional; that look in someone’s eye when they let go and engage in the moment while surrounded by uncertainty is always a special experience to share with students. 

He grew up a ski bum, and after fighting in two wars all he wanted to do was get back to that feeling of going fast, embracing gravity, and falling down a mountain with his own expression. When he started pursuing that need, he quickly realized that he was going to push himself deep into the mountains and naturally interface with slopes that wanted to kill him. Focused on the goal of “always coming back,” it was imperative he developed a better understanding of how to achieve that. Because going after a bold and audacious objective is not a death wish, it’s a life wish.

Whether it is teaching avalanche education, technical ski mountaineering, plant identification, or describing the geologic process that formed a certain terrain feature he loves helping people gain a stronger connection to the natural environment. It is not just about ensuring people have an idea of how to travel safely through terrain and mitigate risk when engaging it, it is also about building a deeper appreciation for these places and eventually becoming advocates for it. He absolutely loves sharing the outdoors whether it is on two planks, our own feet, or via horseback. At the end of the day, all this land in our country that we are free to roam and that entices a wild spirit in us… belongs to us all, and anyone who wants to see it… Josh will share it with them.

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