Z | International Pro Rider’s Workshop

Editor’s Note: As an Exum guide, Zahan guides athletes and crew for local production company Teton Gravity Research. As part of this process, Z helps instruct the crew in an annual workshop designed to maximize safety while the crew is skiing/riding in remote backcountry terrain.

I’m just returning from the 2013 International Pro Riders Workshop (IPRW) – a 3 day high level mountain safety conference for the elite TGR athlete team. This collection of some of the greatest big mountain and freestyle skiers and riders in the world gather every year to take their mountain sense to a new level. I was honored to be invited as a guest instructor this year to focus on technical rope system for high angle skiing, and avalanche safety. I taught alongside a crop of Alaskan Heli guides, led by Kent Scheler, as well as Lead Denali Ranger: David Weber.

There is so much that can be said about this amazing crew of athletes, guides and production staff – but what stands out the most after spending three days with them is what a tight show they run. While it may look like chaos from outside, the TGR crew is obsessive about safety and calculation of risk – and that is what IPRW is all about.

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The Alaskan guides and some of the athletes testing the breaking strength of snow anchors

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An in depth presentation by Griffin Post and friends on their life saving rescue of a snowmobiler in Cooke City in the winter of 2013

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The Jeremy Jones Higher crew, after a custom snow pit module – aimed at helping them build more techniques for handling complex snow problems on the way up

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Big Mountain wizard Sage Cattabriga dissecting a ‘near miss’ in Alaska. This section of the course is entitled “defend my line” and gives athletes a chance to breakdown their thinking during high tension mements. Sage: always a learner and a teacher

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TGR visionary Todd Jones holding court at the closing ceremony. His message? “Lets keep it tight out there”

Here is Z at work in the Tetons with TGR last season: