MTA Winter Conference – Sat 28th - Sun 29th Jan 2017

Winter Conference 5

Don’t miss out on a fantastic opportunity to spend a weekend at Glenmore Lodge on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January. This is a great weekend of winter based CPD workshops for members of the Mountain Training Association; an ideal opportunity to develop, refresh and learn new skills, find out about working as a Winter Mountain Leader and meet like-minded members.

There are a range of workshops including an introduction to winter skills for those who are venturing out in winter for the first time, navigation and teaching winter skills for those working towards their Winter Mountain Leader or in need of a refresher and further training opportunities for award holders. See the full list of workshops below. All workshops are staffed by instructors who work at the National Centre or are leading experts in their field and the weekend will accrue continued personal development (CPD) points (1 per day).

The weekend will also include an update from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service on avalanche awareness and an update from the Association by Belinda Fear the Development Officer. Stay for the whole weekend for the full experience or come along for one day.

Who can book?

Winter Conference 4
  • Venturing out in winter for the first time?
  • Want to develop your personal and/or professional winter skills?
  • Completed a Winter Mountain Leader training course but feel like you need a refresher before taking the plunge and booking your assessment?
  • Keen to find out what it's like working in winter?
  • Looking for a skills refresher and some reassurance that you're doing it right and safely?
  • Interested in advancing your current skills in off-piste skiing or winter climbing?
  • Want to meet likeminded people from the outdoor community?
Look no further - the Winter Conference is open to all MTA members with an interest in getting out in winter. BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW.

How much is it?

The weekend experience can be enjoyed for £210 including food and accommodation.

How can you book?

Booking is available online via the Glenmore lodge website and you can choose a vareity of options from a fully residential weekend to a one day non residential option. Please ensure you book and pay for a package prior to booking onto the individual workshops. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE.

What's on offer this year:

Workshops will run on both Saturday and Sunday 9am – 5pm unless specified. The following is a full description of the workshops on offer throughout the weekend. If a particular workshop has very low bookings it may not run and you will be offered an alternative.

Introduction to Winter Skills

Winter Conference 2
A one day introduction for those wishing to extend their walking into the winter season in North Wales the Lakes or Scotland. Primarily it is about learning to use an axe and crampons. Starting with making sound judgements about route choice and terrain, movement skills and effective boot placement before moving onto using the axe to aid safe travel, crampon techniques on steeper ground and finally using the axe for self-arrest should the rest of those skills fail.

Winter Navigation Skills

A one day workshop looking at the skills required to navigate effectively in winter conditions. From ideas on how to organise your navigation equipment, using winter strategies and adapting navigation techniques for the winter environment, working with contours, strategies for relocation and avoiding cornices and avalanche terrain. Participants need to have some basic winter skills and be able to walk in winter conditions with axe and crampons.

Winter Mountain Leader Security on Steep ground skills

This workshop is for those who have completed Winter Mountain Leader training and beyond and will focus on the techniques to ensure safe travel for a group through steep ground. During the day we will revisit the planning, route choice and group management process in relation to dealing with steep ground. We will also cover the techniques required to provide security for individual members of a hillwalking party during ascent and descent, including short sections of up to and include Grade 1 ground and cornices. This will include the use of kicking steps, step cutting and use of the rope to build different types of snow anchor/belay options.

Prerequisites: Suitable for Winter Mountain Leader Trainees or above.

Working in Winter

Winter Conference 1
This workshop is ideal for people who are interested in working in the mountains in winter but are unsure about signing up for the Winter Mountain Leader scheme. Taking your Summer Mountain Leader skills and combining them with your personal winter experience, we can show you what is required of a Winter Mountain Leader and help you decide if it's for you. We will dispel some of the myth and legends and give you a clear and concise picture of what a Winter Mountain Leader needs to be able to do. This will be a very relaxed and open day with lots of opportunity to ask questions, experiment with practical teaching techniques, improve your personal skill set and most importantly discover the challenge and reward of safely introducing others to this fantastic environment.

Prerequisites: Participants must already hold their (Summer) Mountain leader award and be personally competent in the use of an ice axe and crampons.

Avalanche Avoidance

This workshop will look at information gathering including conditions, weather and SAIS reports and how that links to planning our route and identifying potential hazards including heuristic traps and then what options and strategies we have to manage them. On the hill we continue to observe and evaluate conditions and amend our plans as we go. This workshop will also link in with the early evening lecture on the Saturday.

Prerequisites: Participants need to have some basic winter skills and operate self-sufficiently within the group.

Teaching Core Winter Skills

Winter Mountain Leaders will frequently need to give basic tuition to novice walkers in ice axe and crampon skills techniques. This practical workshop will facilitate developing practiced demonstrations in core ice axe and crampon techniques to ensuring the leader is seen as an expert model.It will also cover selecting appropriate safe terrain to teach techniques; use of an appropriate teaching model or approach when teaching others. Explore how participants can ensure a simple structure and appropriate programme of training to the individuals’/groups’ abilities and experience.

Prerequisites: Participants should have compeleted their Winter Mountain Leader training or be existing Winter Mountain Leader award holders.

Winter Climbing

Winter Conference 6
This is a practical workshop which aims to consider the preparation for a days winter climbing from the planning process at home to the practical skills of safely reaching the foot of the climb and setting up your first belay. It is not a climbing course (which would typically require a 1:2 ratio) but is about safe travel and decision making when winter climbing which will help keep you safe and more efficient, avoiding the pitfalls of short days and working around other climbing parties.

The workshop will look at rope work from short roping to winter belays, avalanche and navigation top tips on finding the top or bottom of the climb and getting off the top at the end and will also explore choosing a route and decision making on a busy day in the corries etc.

Prerequisites: Participants must be competent with ice axe and crampons and summer rock climbing and rope work skills.

Introduction to Off Piste Skiing

This one day workshop aims to give existing skiers a taste for Off Piste skiing. The day is designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge so that you can step off the soulless ski pistes and venture into the backcountry where you will start to experience the freedom of skiing the “whole mountain”. Prerequisites: Participants must have 2 weeks downhill skiing and be comfortable on blue/red runs.


To save on travel costs why not share a lift? Try posting on the MTA Facebook group to find travel buddies.


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