This winter so far has been splendid, and I have not even indulged in my winter sport of choice. I am getting my winter fun out in other ways. I discovered an interest in snowshoeing. It’s terrific! It is also simple and affordable. All you do is strap some snowshoes to your feet and walk up snowy mountains, and Vancouver has no shortage of mountains. That is what our class did for three days in a row on Seymour Mountain while we were training in avalanche safety. An avalanche is scary, and if you are caught in one even the most trained athletes aren’t guaranteed to survive. But being prepared and trained can help you avoid danger zones, or even save a life (maybe yours!). Luckily for the Adventure Tourism Program here at CTC, we have arguably one of the best in the business teaching us these skills. Brent Hillier, although young for his expertise, has years of experience in the back country, on top of his own sharp instincts. If you end up in this program, “WWBD” is going to be running through your mind on your excursions for a long time. He doesn’t know everything, but he knows a lot.
We got to celebrate our new certification with a Christmas party in the woods. Even our business teacher Rami joined us. It took 13 of us about 40 minutes to dig a kitchen out of snow and the end job was so impressive! Everyone brought tons of food and the feature of the day was chocolate fondue! Everyone had sticks and we made sort of a train, going in a circle with the people closest to the fondue eating as much as they could until they were too far away to reach. After we replaced the energy we burned and then some, we had some old fashioned fun that took me back to my childhood—we went sledding. Not one of us acted our age that day, including our teachers who led the charge on crazy carpets down Brockton Mountain. Being with a group of “highly professional” first aiders must have given me some confidence. You don’t really know how fast you are going until you are feet up in a tree well. Not one to be afraid of speed, I sent one run a bit deep and before you could say “Christmas in the back country” I had about 6 arms pulling me out of there. Did I mention, you need to sign lots of waivers during this program? My crazy classmates and I extended our Christmas party, and had a Secret Santa exchange and much merry celebration.
During these past months my classmates and I have learned to lean on each other for support. These people are awesome, everybody is completely different and brings an array of strengths and skills to the table. We are supportive and have fun together. There is no doubt in my mind that most of us will remain friends and many of us will continue to achieve great success in our back country endeavours and build fulfilling careers. The interesting thing is, I don’t believe any two of us will be going down the same path. This is great proof that the program itself is integrated and diverse, a great start for anyone who wants to get their foot in the door.
It’s crunch time and exams are around the corner! Wish us luck, although by now we won’t need it!