Russian Avalanche Center (RAC) annual report 2020-2021.
Founded in May of 2020 Russian Avalanche Center (RAC) has shown significant growth by the end of the season 2020/21.
The mission statement is to implement the culture of avalanche awareness. The objectives are to develop, coordinate, promote and provide avalanche safety programs and services.
Collaboration with Avalanche Canada
The licensing agreements have been concluded with Avalanche Canada for the official translation of the Avaluator brochure and the AST Handbook.
Avaluator brochure and tool both are translated and published.
Technical version of the AST Handbook has been translated and published. This is the texbook used at courses. RAC continues working on editing and publishing the full-fledged version. The updated version is available in Fall 2021
RAC successfully ran Continue Professional Development course (CPD) and courses for RAC instructors, 8 days in total in February 2021. Eight people have completed the courses and all of them are RMGA ski/mountain guides with CAA Level 1 diplomas. Counted instructors who were trained before there are 12 instructors in total in the Russian Avalanche Center. All instructors are certified to teach basic recreational course AST 1 or Russian version so called RAC 1 and eight of them are certified to teach advanced recreational course RAC 2 (similar to AST 2).
RAC will constantly follow with new instructors training.
Recreational avalanche courses AST and RAC
During the winter, 57 people took the basic avalanche course AST1 and 33 took advanced avalanche course AST2 (RAC2). These numbers are still rather modest but looking at the number of students passed AST courses in last years (12 people per year in average ) a significant growth can be seen.
Classification of avalanche terrains according to the ATES standards is an important part of avalanche safety development process. Theoretical and technical basis for avalanche terrains rating development in Russia was created last winter (2020-2021) and by the winter end there were already first results such as topographic maps and files for navigation programs. More information about the classification and the results can be found on the RAC website in the "Mountain Information Network" section. By the end of winter 2022, we plan to classify all the main regions/sectors in Russia that are popular for ski touring
The season of 2020/2021 is the starting for Russian Avalanche Center public relations processes. The aim for the first year was to introduce RAC mission statement and objectives to the target groups and to present the organization in media.
RAC website and social networks accounts were created in fall of 2020. The social media strategy is to introduce avalanche education in Russia.
There is a significant grows of followers and RAC retailed accounts are currently ones of the most popular for avalanche thematic in Russia. Community is active with questions about upcoming courses, avalanche equipment and more showing positive feedback. Social networks are also used to inform about current avalanche situation in different country regions as well as a source of information about upcoming courses making it easier for students to find suitable time and instructor and from other side for instructors to attract students. Also RAC started series of educational posts.
Some data for winter 2020-2021:
Facebook, 150 subscribers.
Instagram, 1070 subscribers. During the period from November till April, the number of followers increased from 70 to 1070 people.
Website avalanchecenter.ru. The number of unique users is 1200, the average time on the site is 2 minutes, the most popular page is the Course Schedule (1300 unique views).
Avalanche accidents statistic in Russia
RAC has collected the statistics for avalanche accidents in Russia over the past 10 years and for the first time in Russia winter season avalanche accidents statistics has been collected, described and structured. Since 2020 all avalanche accidents in Russia are counted systematically.
Plans for the season 2021-2022
Recreational avalanche courses
AST1 and 2 courses are replaced with the similar Russian courses RAC1 and 2. RAC plans to use Avaluator and AST Handbook as a manual tools and textbooks and general approach for courses. Courses are slightly modified to meet local specific but in all the main themes they are the same with Canadian approach. For those students who would like to continue their avalanche education abroad courses fits with all AvCan and CAA requirements.
Professional avalanche courses
Eight days professional avalanche course RAC Pro 1 is scheduled to be held in February 2021. Curriculum of the course similar to CAA ITP Level 1 course and slightly changed to meet local specifics. Course instructors are CAA Level 2/Level 3 and ACMG ski guides.
There are 30+ people in Russia with CAA Level 1 qualification and would like to follow with CAA Level 2. All of them are certified guides, members of Russian Mountain Guides Association. To help them to meet CAA Level 2 prerequisites we are planning to run two professional avalanche courses:
1. Avalanche search and rescue Pro (similar to CAA AvSAR)
2. Basic meteorological course (similar to CAA Intro to Weather).
The instructors on these courses are CAA Level 2/Level 3 and ACMG ski guides, and specialists in meteorology with university degrees and experience in avalanche services.
RAC will constantly follow up with the training of new instructors. Already 6 new RMGA guides has applied for the courses.
Mountain information network - information exchange. RAC plans to start information exchange section on the RAC website and development of mobile application.
Work on the classification of avalanche terrain according to the ATES will be continued. By the end of winter, we plan to classify all the main regions/sectors that are popular for backcountry skiing.