Purchased the Intro to Backcountry course and went out with a group on Saturday Feb 21 2011. The conditions could not have been better – tons of fresh snow, cold temps and not a cloud in the sky! Our head guide (Matt) was really helpful in the run-up to the day, allowing us to change the meet point due to a member of our group coming from down south, answering my numerous questions and even letting us add a person last minute at the since-expired discount price. The guide-to-guest ratio was 1:2 and after the drive and a quick brief we were on the snow by about 9:30. Matt is obviously very experienced (20 years in the backcountry, ex ski patrol, has bagged multiple big mountain summits) and throughout the whole day while we were hiking he was educating us on the safety aspects of backcountry travel as well as basic transceiver training. He was also very personable – even when he had to tick us off for being slightly too gung-ho on a couple of the runs.
In terms of the snowboarding and skiing? The day was epic…. We probably covered 2500 vertical feet across 4 runs. Bottomless powder, a few trees, couple of small jumps and beautiful conditions. We were at Paradise on Mt Rainier – and you are literally on the side of the mountain – you can even see Camp Muir from some runs, which is the mid camp for summit climbs. This package was exactly what I was looking for – an introduction into the world of the backcountry combined with some epic snowboarding. Obviously in one day you barely scratch the surface of the things you need to know but I feel my chances of getting in trouble are greatly reduced now. And if worst comes to worst I know how to dig someone out of an avalanche.
I will definitely use Matt and BC Adventure Guides again.