After a pair of chilly nights in the backcountry as part of their course activities

Students celebrated first day of spring at -16 C

A group of Selkirk students welcomed spring by spending a pair of frigid nights in the West Kootenay backcountry.

A group of Selkirk College Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Program students welcomed spring by spending a pair of frigid nights in the West Kootenay backcountry.

As part of an annual field trip for the program, 10 students and two instructors spent March 20 and 21 in the Selkirk Wilderness Skiing tenure near Meadow Creek in order to get hands-on experience for their Backcountry Risk Analysis and Mitigation II and Commercial Recreation Management courses.

“We were dropped off on a sparsely treed, east facing slope at an elevation of 2,100 meters and were left with only a three-metre snowpack and the backpacks on our backs,” says Selkirk College instructor Keyes Lessard.

Students and instructors built and slept in trench snow shelters designed to trap warm air generated by body heat. Despite the -16 to -18°C nighttime lows, the temperatures inside the shelters hovered from -1 to -3°C. This type of shelter is the preference over others because one stays relatively dry during its construction, a very important piece of information to learn for survival in such a harsh environment.

Students gained practical outdoor skills including avalanche risk assessment, winter travel and survival.

“One can only truly learn the tricks of the trade for the many winter camping challenges hands on,” says Selkirk College instructor Robyn Mitz. “Who knew that if one fails to add a little bit of water to the bottom of a pot while trying to melt snow for drinking water, that you will burn your pot?”

Lifelong soft skills — those skills that most employers are looking for in today’s world of constant change — were also acquired during the trip. Time management, organization and communication are all essential skills to living and surviving in the mountains with minimal supplies.

After two very cold nights and days travelling, learning and sliding in the snow, the group descended 900 meters to the lodge Selkirk Wilderness Skiing. The lodge owner graciously welcomed the tired group, providing warm showers, appetizers, coffee and a relaxed conversation about his experiences owning a commercial recreation business.

“As we sat in the warm and cozy Selkirk Wilderness Skiing lodge, with a beautiful view of the Purcell Mountains, enjoying a kale, mango and wheatgrass smoothie and a perfectly made Oso Negro Americano, our tanned faces, sore bodies, and tool box of newly acquired skills were reminders of the adventure we were just on,” says Lessard.

A hot gourmet dinner, a warm and comfortable bed that did not need to be shoveled out and erected for four hours prior to sleeping, a team building game around the pool table and many smiles on tanned faces was the perfect way to experience a commercial recreational business and enjoy the last night of the three night adventure field trip.

“A special thank you should go out to the fine folks at Selkirk Wilderness Skiing for their fantastic hospitality,” says Mitz. “To the students who endured a very challenging and adventurous trip, may the skills acquired on this trip and in the program act as positive foundations for their future endeavors.”

Just Posted

BC senior championship: Tie breakers to decide men’s, Richter goes undefeated in women’s

Marilou’s Richter’s Penticton/Kamloops team cruises to final with perfect record.

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to B.C., again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Most Read