Students Celebrate First Day of Spring at -16C

Another Awesome Selkirk College Adventure


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 Ski tenure near Meadow Creek in order to get hands-on experience for their Backcountry Risk Analysis and Mitigation II and Commercial Recreation Management courses.

Students celebrate spring

After a pair of chilly nights in the backcountry as part of their course activities, Selkirk College Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Program had the opportunity to relax at the Selkirk Wilderness Ski Lodge.

“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 trenchsnow 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.

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