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First snow signals need to be ready for winter recreation: CVSAR

Around this time of year, the first snow tends to come to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, and it is recommended you start refreshing your memory or train for winter activities.

That is from Comox Valley Search and Rescue avalanche team lead Troy Fogerty. He says it is the time of year to start looking over your gear and get ready for season.

He adds that for those heading out into the backcountry – particularly for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing – it is important to make sure you have the training and knowledge to use your gear, including your avalanche beacon or probe.

“This is the time of year to look and make sure your gear is in good working order and start practicing with your beacons,” said Fogerty. “Get those juices flowing again of how to be able to use them.

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“If you’re looking at getting into the gear, get the training and look at doing your AST 1 courses or AST 2 and a great place to start with that is to do your Avy Savvy.”

Fogerty says their team does the Avy Savvy every winter to refresh their memory, and other training to make sure they are ready to do rescues in the backcountry.

He adds making sure that you are experienced, know how to use maps and how to make a trail plan so people know where you are also important to having a safe time in the backcountry.

“Basic trip planning is always good practice,” he said.

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For CVSAR, Fogerty says they move into prepping their gear, equipment and vehicles this time of year while putting away their summer gear.

“We start doing all our yearly training and planning out all of our scenarios to be proficient and practice like it’s the real thing,” said Fogerty. “It’s all happening right now, we have new members that have joined our team, they’re in their training.”

He adds that while call volume feels like it has eased off post pandemic, he feels it is coming back up as people explore different areas.

“You never know. If there’s snow on the ground, there’s always possibilities and hopefully we don’t get called,” said Fogerty. “Hopefully we don’t get called. The more prepared people are and the more they’re able to get themselves out, that’s always a good thing.”

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Fogerty reminds you that search and rescue is a free service, and it is better to call early and give them enough time to respond in daylight hours than later.

Avalanche Canada has also launched its webinars for the year, and more information can be found here.

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