Backcountry safety class scheduled for May |

Backcountry safety class scheduled for May

If you’re a hunter, hiker, mountain biker, climber, camper, ski patrol or a professional guide, emergency training is ” simply put ” your best friend.

So take note: Apex Mountain School ” a mountain-skills training and private guiding business in Avon ” teaches back-country safety skills and wilderness medicine. It’s gearing up for its third annual Wilderness First Responder full-certification course, scheduled from May 3-10.

A Wilderness First Responder re-certification course is offered from May 2-3.

“We actually have shortened the course so people can take it more easily,” said Scott Smith, Apex Mountain School owner. “It’s a condensed course so it still meets hourly requirements.”

Once someone is certified, they must take re-certifications every three years.

The Apex Mountain School – SOLO Wilderness First Responder curriculum uses the principles of long-term care, improvised resources and varying environmental conditions as its framework. Initially developed and taught by SOLO in the mid-1980s, the curriculum provides outdoor leaders, guides and rangers with the knowledge to deal with crises in remote settings.

“Initially folks go into the course thinking it’s going to be solely medicine and the treatment of injuries,” Smith said.

The course also encompasses other skills ” responding to an accident, assessment, helicopter signals, how to fashion makeshift carries from objects that you have in the back country, etc.

And, according to Smith, students will learn how to provide comfort, evaluate patients and treat wounds properly in the back country. Determining where to take an injured person for additional treatment, or whether to move an injured person, is also covered.

“Just having that working knowledge is valuable,” Smith said. “There’s an equal pull to take the course from the guiding community and outdoor enthusiasts. … It’s also good for parents.”

There are no prerequisites for course. Its students will receive a SOLO Wilderness First Responder card and an American Heart Association Adult Heartsaver CPR card. The cost is $665; the re-certification course is $255, plus $35 for the CPR update.

Register by visiting, or by calling 888-MTN-SOUL (686-7685).

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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