Backcountry Intro to Skiing/Splitboarding (BITS) - 2021/2022 Program
Google Drive with Info for Participants: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1w__8OyjF5Az0hwlKA4taDcw2Bp12MjcK?usp=sharing
** Please note the registration deadline. We will be holding one further info session on December 5. However, applications will only be accepted after Dec. 3 if there is still availability in the program and time for applications to be processed. It is suggested that applications be submitted as early as possible.
Application: 2021-22 Application Form
Payment Link: See Notes at the bottom of the posting for the BUY NOW link
Registration/Application/Payment Deadline: December 1, 2021
This is the central sign up for the BITS Program, the ACC Calgary Section’s introduction to backcountry skiing (BITS) program. It is NOT a separate trip (just a placeholder) – you need to sign up here to join the program. BITS trips will be posted by the coordinator and participants will be assigned to a group for each trip.
BITS is a volunteer/peer-led mentoring program consisting of an online introductory classroom session followed by a series of beginner focused ski tours designed to help you progress as a backcountry skier. It includes learning about terrain, avalanche safety, trip planning, gear and other relevant skills. And a chance to enjoy our wonderful backcountry! Upon completion of the program participants should feel capable of attending a variety of easy and moderate ski trips with the ACC Calgary section. It is open to all adult Calgary section members 19 and older.
The program will consist of an online introduction session(s) that is open to all (last session Dec 5), and three weekend day-trips. The trips will be Dec 18, January 15 and February 12 – conditions permitting- with a couple of make-up sessions possible, based on leader availability and conditions. February 26 is the designated 'reserve' day if a session is cancelled due to weather or avy conditions.
BITS is NOT a learn to ski program, nor AST1. Participants must have solid intermediate ski skills at the resort (i.e. be comfortable skiing a blue run in all conditions), and - if at all possible - have completed AST1 before the first trip. If AST1 may be an issue, please contact the organizers before signing up – exceptions may be made for the first trip. You are encouraged to book your AST1 course as soon as possible – demand is likely to be high and class size limits lower than in past years. You can look at avalanche.ca for listings of providers/courses, or contact the BITS coordinator for info (email@example.com). You also need to be fit – able to do a moderate 10km hike with a pack.
You must be an ACC Calgary section member to register. If you are not yet an ACC member or need to add Calgary section membership, you need to apply via the ACC national website. Once the section receives your registration confirmation from national, your calendar access will be activated. This can take a few days, so be sure to leave time in the application process if applicable. Note that since this program is 19+, you need to have your age indicated in your account info to apply -- you can update/add your age by updating your account info at the top of the page.
There is $50 fee for the program; these funds enable us to provide our leaders and helpers with small subsidies to help with courses to improve their first aid/leadership/avalanche safety skills. Refunds will be available ONLY for withdrawals that are related to COVID – contact the organizers for more information. Payment can be made via Paypal. Change - the calendar now automatically notifies us of payment, so no need to send a copy of your receipt, but keep the receipt just in case of any IT glitches.
Note that capacity is limited by the number of leaders. Applications may be accepted up until Dec 8 if there is space available, however applicants are encouraged to submit their registration as early as possible to ensure a space.
Registration/Application/Payment Deadline: December 1, 2021
1) Sign up here to be placed on the wait list
2) Attend one of the online intro sessions
3) Fill out the application form and return to firstname.lastname@example.org
4) When you receive the notification that you have been approved, submit your payment to link at the bottom of the page (see above note)
5) Once your application and payment are received, you will be moved onto the “go” list.
6) You will be placed on individual trips by the organizer. If you cannot make a specific trip, you must remove yourself from the trip and e-mail the organizer to let them know.
7) Trip leaders will communicate with participants to confirm trip locations/times. Participants are responsible for letting the trip leader know ASAP if they cannot make a trip and must withdraw themselves from any trips they cannot make.
8) Have fun!
Everyone who wishes to participate in the program must submit a FULLY COMPLETED application, which can be found here: 2021-22 Application Form. You will need to download the file, open it with Excel or Google Spreadsheet, fill it out, save it as AN EXCEL (.xlsx file), and send it back to email@example.com. The application will be used to group participants into similar abilities for the ski tours. Note that PDF or other file types will not be accepted - we need at .xlsx or .xls file to process your application.
You will need to have your own ski and avalanche safety gear (probe, avalanche shovel and 3-antennae avalanche beacon). Note that rental equipment is likely be limited this season – so book rentals early. Rental options are likely to be University of Calgary, possibly Norseman, and GearUp in Canmore (the latter likely requiring additional trips to Canmore for pick up/return). Especially with the ability to meet indoors restricted due to COVID, it is important to be familiar with your gear ahead of time and make sure it is properly fitted/adjusted/DINS set. If need be, head out to the resort for day prior to BITS.
Self Directed Learning
Participants will be asked to complete several self directed learning exercises over the course of the program.
1. Watching a series of Youtube videos with helpful hints on ski touring and powder skiing technique (~30 min)
2. Reading Bruce Trempers book - Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain (~4 hrs)
3.Completing Avalanche.ca AvySavvy online tutorial (~2 hrs)
4. Trip planning prior to your events - navigation, weather, avalanche and group considerations (1-2 hrs per event)
COVID-19 and COVID-19 Vaccinations
Finally, a note with regards to COVID-19. All ACC section trips will be run as per the section’s COVID guidelines. These may change depending on the current situation. If changes in provincial or other regulations require any alterations to BITS, we will let all participants know, and be flexible in terms of refunds.
All participants must sign the new waiver and health declaration before every trip. You are strong encouraged to read the section guidelines & understand your responsibilities: http://www.acccalgary.ca/calgary-section-protocols/ Briefly, participants should comply with social distancing requirements, be prepared with mask(s) when distancing is not possible (and for emergencies) and sharing of gear is to be kept to an absolute minimum. There will be no formal carpooling - any arrangements should be made privately between participants.
At present, to our understanding, the vaccine passport system does not apply to BITS. However, we very strongly encourage all participants to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the program. Trip leaders have the final say in who is allowed on their trips, and participants are asked to provide their vaccine status on the registration form to facilitate appropriate placement.
A Few Other Notes – Please Read
Please ensure that the e-mail on your ACC Calgary Section profile is one that you check regularly. This e-mail will be used for all automated trip notifications/reminders and send to leaders for contacting participants. Leaders/organizers will not be responsible for communications missed if the e-mail is not up to date.
In order to comply with best practices, and to ensure that we have enough leaders in case of COVID-related absences, we are capping groups at a maximum of 8 people (ideally 5-6 persons max). Once you are assigned to a group, you will remain in that group unless there is significant mismatch in abilities, and any changes will be made by the organizers.
Also, due to the restrictions on carpooling, participants will generally be expected to meet at the trailhead. If participants in the same household prefer to be in the same group, please indicate clearly on the application form. We will place household members in the same group, however if the members are of differing abilities, they will be placed in the group appropriate to the lower of the two levels.
Finally, all participants must sign up under their own name – both so leaders know who to expect and for record keeping due to COVID. As such, if you have a family membership, please ensure that you have separate sign ins for each person who is participating. To have separate log ins created, please contact the section IT chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any questions? Contact the program coordinator, Kate Snedeker at email@example.com