Join us as the Northwest Avalanche Center brings together seasoned backcountry professionals along with outside-industry experts in an effort to provide tangible solutions to improve your day out in the backcountry. Each workshop will be an interactive experience probing deeper into our decision-making process and learn new techniques to improve those decisions. Come prepared to participate and takeaway some valuable techniques for your next backcountry outing.

Participants should have taken, at a minimum, a Level 1 avalanche course. The workshops are geared towards individuals who have years of backcountry experience, have made mistakes, and want to learn how to better mitigate and understand their risk traveling in the backcountry during winter.

Going Deep Series

The Mountaineers, Seattle

Presentor Information

Supported By

Going Deep: An Evening With NWAC Ticket Registration

NWAC Members - you're eligible for a $10 discount! Be sure to enter the email associated with your membership. Not a member but would like to become one? Sign up here!

Non-Members | $30
Members          | $20

Going Deep Session 1: An Evening with NWAC

Session 1: An Evening with the Forecasters, Snow Observers, and Educators of the Northwest Avalanche Center 
When: Monday, November 18th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm         

Session 2: Winter Mountain Sense 
When: Monday, December 9th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm  

Session 3: To Dig, or Not to Dig?: Making Relevant Snowpack Observations
When: Monday, January 13th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00pm

Session 4: Risk Management in the Backcountry
When: Monday, February 24th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm

Session 5: Making the Transition from Winter to Spring: How to Plan Multiday Tours Without an Avalanche Forecast
When: Monday, April 6th, presentation begins promptly at 6:00 pm

An evening with NWAC | 11/18Backcountry Risk Management | 2/24Winter Mountain Sense | 12/9Transition from Winter to Spring | 4/6To Dig or Not to Dig | 1/13

Going Deep Session 3: To Dig or Not To Dig?
Making Relevant Snowpack Observations

Going Deep Session 4: Risk Management in the Backcountry

Going Deep Session 2: Winter Mountain Sense  

Going Deep Session 5: Transition from Winter to Spring

What's the difference between high and considerable avalanche ratings? How can I apply the NWAC forecast to the slope I want to ski? How long should I wait after a storm before I hit the backcountry? If you've ever asked yourself these questions – or any others about avalanches–come join us for an evening with our forecasters, field observers, and staff to hear how it all works. The first half of the evening will be a lecture focusing on how to make the most of the NWAC avalanche forecast. The second half will be a casual question-and-answer session. Please bring any and all questions about NWAC forecasts; how to use the forecasts; and questions about avalanches themselves.

What do we mean when we say someone has good “mountain sense?” And if it’s really a thing, then how do we know when we have it–and when we don’t? Join Erica Engle and Forest McBrian for a hard look at competence in the mountains. These days, most backcountry travelers know that education is critical. Taking a Level 1 Avalanche course is a great step; but everyone arrives at their level 1 with a different set of experiences, and they will apply the skills and concepts differently. How do you know where you stand, and how do you know where to focus your efforts as you strive to grow? In this 3 hour workshop, you’ll take an inventory of the skills and habits you bring to backcountry travel in avalanche terrain. First, we’ll review how we get insight about our own abilities—self reflection and feedback from trusted partners or mentors—and we’ll practice new tools for both. Then, we’ll take a good look at our backcountry skills using a competency matrix based on professional training programs. You’ll come away with a clearer view of your own strengths and concrete ideas on how to address weaker skill sets.

Do you find yourself wondering to dig or not to dig? Wouldn’t you prefer to spend your time skiing, riding, climbing, or snowshoeing rather than digging into snow, scrutinizing layers? Join our industry experts in this activity-based workshop, learning when it makes sense to dig and what conclusions you can draw from your results. Walk away from the workshop with a systematic process to the field observations you make during your winter backcountry outing, focusing on why, when and where to dig.

We often say that terrain is always the answer, when in reality, it’s our decision making that is always the answer. How we make, or don't make our decisions that can expose us to higher risk. We want partners with skills, but we also want to be traveling with folks that can advocate for themselves and share thoughts easily to be part of that decision-making process. Also, understanding your own risk tolerance as well as your partner's plays a huge factor in interpersonal dynamics, and plays another huge role in people’s ability to make appropriate decisions. 

The What: Human factors, what are your biases and risk tolerance? What is risk management in a backcountry setting?

So What: How do you recognize and manage these biases and your risk tolerance, as well as your partners. Why is this important?

What Next: Debriefing - the importance of asking good questions at the end of the day and why finding good partners is just as important as perfect powder.

Spring is here! And with that comes better weather and longer days – a perfect recipe for big objectives and multiday tours. You’ve had your avalanche class and have been out riding in the backcountry this past winter. At some point every April, NWAC shifts out of daily forecast operations leaving the spring traveler without the valuable tool of a daily avalanche forecast. So, what happens when there’s no avalanche advisory to go off of? Most modern avalanche education uses a regional avalanche forecast as the building block for tour planning and snow stability. Without that daily forecast, it can be unnerving to figure out when and where to go. This evening’s Going Deep lecture is aimed at equipping people with tools to evaluate conditions leading to good decisions in the backcountry. We’ll focus on how to plan and execute a tour without the help of an NWAC avalanche forecast. You’ll also learn tips and tricks on how to time your tour with the weather along with gaining an understanding what to look for in the spring snowpack, so you don’t get caught in the shed cycle. This class will be taught by NWAC avalanche experts and educators.

Monday, November 18th 

Monday, December 9th

The Mountaineers
Doors at 5:30
Program starts promptly at 6:00PM

$25 | Non- NWAC Member
$15 | NWAC Members

Online Registration has closed for this workshop. Tickets are available at the door.

Monday, January 13th 

The Mountaineers
Doors at 5:30
Program starts promptly at 6:00PM

Monday, February 24th 

Virtual Workshop

Program starts promptly at 6:00PM

Monday, April 6th 

Virtual Workshop

Program starts promptly at 6:00PM

Going Deep: To Dig Or Not To Dig

NWAC Members - you're eligible for a $10 discount! Be sure to enter the email associated with your membership. Not a member but would like to become one? Sign up here!

Non-Members | $25
Members          | $10

Going Deep: Transition From Winter to Spring 

Going Deep Transitioning to Spring will be held virtually on April 6th. We are offerng this workshop free of charge, but if you have the means to, we are recommending a $10 donation for the event. Donations can be made here. 

Going Deep Bellingham: An evening with NWAC Gruffs Brewery | 1/6

Non-Seattle based workshops:

Going Deep Motorized: An Evening with NWAC Lifestyles Honda 1/15Going Deep Motorized: An evening with NWAC, Clems Powersports 1/22