Avalanche-MTR-Nordic “AMN” Instructor Event

This past September, fifty NSP Eastern Division instructors in Avalanche, Mountain Travel and Rescue, and Nordic convened at Northfield Mountain in Western Massachusetts for our annual fall event. Originally an administrative meeting with some limited continuing education elements, starting in 2007 the annual fall event has been significantly expanded along the lines of an OEC refresher.

Although administrative elements are still covered, the main focus in the morning is rotating among refresher stations for Avalanche safety (which this year included beacon practice and a presentation on backcountry-savvy smart phone apps), Mountain Travel and Rescue (which this year included ropework and mechanical advantage systems), and Nordic (which this year focused on the new Nordic Master program).

The afternoon presentation features a guest speaker in a related field. Prior years have included the Massachusetts State Police search and rescue coordinator and the Central Massachusetts Search and Rescue Team. This year featured a presentation on

setting up a helicopter landing zone by the nearby City of Springfield’s coordinator for emergency preparedness, who joked with harsh winter snows in 2011 followed by a devastating tornado, Hurricane Irene, and even a small earthquake, they were bracing for what’s next … which turned out to be a freak snowstorm the very next month that shut down some households’ electricity for an entire week!

Our host for four out of the past five years has been the Northfield Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol, with large meeting facilities, ample outdoor practice areas, and nearby overnight camping. Numerous sponsors have provided generous raffle prizes, and vendor representatives over the years have included Ortovox, Mammut, Backcountry Access, and Rossignol.

Additional details are available at  http://amn11.nmnsp.org , and all interested patrollers – whether current or potential instructors – are encouraged to attend … free of charge!