Photos: Beau Fredlund
Hungry to ride the big lines but hesitant to take the next step? Welcome to the 2023 Big Mountain Snow Safety Event. For over a decade Samsara has helped skiers and riders develop a systematic approach to climbing & riding in the high alpine.
From expedition leaders to film crews, professional athletes, to everyday adventurers – the Big Mountain Snow Safety Event is designed to help you develop an intimate understanding of snow, and a toolbox of technical skills to navigate the mountains.
What’s the course like?
This is not a ‘stand-around and talk about snow’ course! Expect a ‘go-shred big lines with your crew’ kind of course! We look forward to long days in the Tetons, on the move, learning from every moment. You and the other participants will be in the lead, assessing the mountains, and implementing strategies to manage the hazards. Your instructor will be right behind you, helping you to evolve as a high mountain traveler.
Your Instructors are some of the most accomplished ski and snowboard adventurers, having pioneered first descents from the Himalaya, to the Andes and the Alaska Range. We are a group of passionate big mountain riders.
What’s unique about the Big Mountain Event?
Beyond the snow and technical skills, the BMSS event is a gathering of the mountain community. We create space to explore through story-telling the often-hidden aspects of the big mountain experience; grief, loss and how to navigate risk through the changing chapters of life.
From ‘Being Home’
“Zahan is that rare breed of modest mountain expert; he has decades of experience navigating avalanche terrain, and yet no matter your skill level, your input is accepted without judgment. When in the field with Z, it is not just that all are welcome at the table—all are required. Unlike some of my past guided experiences, with him there was never any posturing or condescension.”
“The lessons from Z’s course have stuck with us, etched themselves into our decision-making models. We are on our own, decisions and consequences wholly ours to manage, and that space feels good.”
Aaron is a big mountain snowboarder, an avalanche educator, and an AMGA splitboard and rock guide based in Jackson, Wyoming. He has made numerous first descents in the Tetons, Alaska Range, and the Andes. “The Big Mountain Snow Safety Course is a chance for me to impart what I have learned to a new generation of adventurers,” he says. “I draw from my personal experience of remote expeditions and first descents, combined with my ongoing study of snow—these are the ingredients I rely on, and am passionate to share with high-level skiers and riders.”
Billy was raised in the Northeast, but cut his teeth in the Tetons. He is an internationally-certified IFMGA mountain guide, and splits time between Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to guiding, Billy is a professional avalanche instructor and forecaster. “Technical, human-powered climbing and skiing in big mountains is what I love,” he says. “I have been fortunate to experience some of the greatest mountain ranges in the world, which have been the forging ground for the mindset and skills that I share in the Big Mountain Snow Safety Course.”
In his constant pursuit of learning and personal growth, Adam has clocked an absurd amount of time in the alpine environment while climbing and skiing the world’s greatest mountain ranges. Based in the Tetons, he is an IFMGA-certified guide and professional avalanche forecaster. “Skiing in the high peaks involves a high level of uncertainty. Over the years I’ve made mistakes and seen firsthand the consequences of poor decision making,” he says. “By sharing what I’ve learned from my own failures and successes in the mountains I hope to impart the nuances of decision making and ultimately give you the tools to navigate a lifetime of adventures in the wildest of places.”
Zahan is a passionate big mountain skier based in Jackson, Wyoming and the owner of Samsara Experience. He has spent his life in constant pursuit of a deeper understanding of how to survive the dangerous game of high-alpine skiing and riding. Z is also an IFMGA-certified mountain guide. “I started the Big Mountain Snow Safety Program in 2013 to train high-level independent skiers and riders on their path to adventure in the greater ranges of the world,” he says. “This program is where we share everything we’ve learned. We teach from the heart, we share from our mistakes, and we do our absolute best to prepare you to make your own decisions in the uncertain world of big mountain riding.”