Behind the Scenes of Outdoor Program Staff Training: Avalanche Safety, Wilderness First Aid and More!

staff on a snowy path with snowmobiles

Every season is training season at the WSU Outdoor Program! I am fortunate to be able to support student trip leaders in a vast variety of training and development opportunities each year, as they progress as outdoor professionals. So let’s highlight a bit of our winter training in 2023/24…

Training at Birch Creek Service Ranch

In early December we gathered at Birch Creek Service Ranch to dive into emergency protocols, wilderness medicine and communication in the field. We refreshed ourselves on programming procedures like our emergency call guide, SOAP notes for reporting injuries, making calls on a SAT phone, packaging patients in an emergency sled/drag bag, practiced hands-on with first aid scenarios… and we had to mix in an epic foosball tournament as well…

Although none of this information was new, it is critical in our field of work that we keep our minds and hands sharp on our emergency response so that we can use it when it counts!

We even made a new friend at the ranch!

Training at the Backcountry Yurt

Later into the month we made our way to the backcountry yurt that the Outdoor Program operates in southern Idaho.

Once at the yurt we were able to train on operating procedures, snowmobiles, avalanche risk and forecasting, and of course we got out to see some incredible terrain!!

We even broke out the emergency drag bag again to practice moving a patient in real time, in real terrain!

And as always, we had some unplanned fun….


Prioritizing Safety and Experience

You can see that we have a ton of fun here at the WSU Outdoor Program and we hope anyone who has ever been in the field with us also knows how seriously we take our jobs and how much we prioritize participant safety along with having the best experience possible. Our trip leaders dedicate collectively hundreds of hours each year to sharpening all the tools in their proverbial kit so that they can implement the right tool for the job when they enter the field with participants. Come join us this season for a snowshoe or cross-country skiing program, a backcountry ski tour or any of our many trips and programs designed for YOU!

Learn more about the Adventure Program

About The Author

Hayley Prine (HP), she/her
Outdoor Program Coordinator, WSU Campus Recreation

Hayley oversees all things programming at the WSU Outdoor Program - from our student led adventure trips, to certification courses, trip leader training and even our challenge course! A desert rat at heart, she loves rock climbing, canyoneering and slickrock nap times (although her time in Utah has converted her into a skier as well). HP has been programming and instructing in the Outdoor Industry since 2011 and her favorite aspect of outdoor recreation is the time spent with great people. There is no better setting to get to know people than a trip into a remote place with a tight crew.

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