Zen, and the Snowstorm By Liam Ortiz

Whumph, clack. The dull thudding rhythm churns along. Whumph, clack. Like a pulse in the storm. Whumph, clack. I lift a ski and bring it forward in the deep powder. Whumph, clack. The graupel slashes at the hood of my jacket, digging its cold fingers into my hair, and into my ears. It crackles against the fabric of my jacket and begs for attention. It stings my face lightly where neither my goggles, hood, not beard cover my skin. I see flashes of dark in the light. Submerged in a sea of white I see flashes of tracks in the snow from other skiers, from rifts in the ice. But they’re not real. I keep moving my feet along with unfaltering cadence, and blink rapidly to clear my eyes. To see what? Perhaps it is quiet here, in my mind. The wind hurls snow along the surface into vortexes. But still, it is quiet. My skis whumph and clack along mechanically and with only my passing supervision. Why is it quiet? Why does methodical physical exertion bring such meditative mental peace? And why does a snowstorm swirling around me lend such acute clarity to my senses?

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Phot0: Liam Ortiz

Whumph, clack. When we left the car we were surrounded by lush green coastal rainforest. We hiked with our skis strapped to our packs, until we found the snow and left the cool humidity below us in the valley. We followed the switchbacks until they ran out, and then we broke trail. Up, across small lakes, up again. Over a ridge and into the storm. We set up an emergency shelter on the front of a boarded up cabin, made hot food and crawled into our sleeping bags while the storm rolled over us, oblivious to our presence.

For the rest of the story and more great photo’s, be sure to check out Liam’s Blog HERE.

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Photo: Liam Ortiz


The Bachelor Of Interdisciplinary Studies

One of the best things about the Adventure Guide Program is the option to continue your education in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree program. The BIS is a  customizable program that allows you to build your own specific degree within your chosen field of study. The BIS is an excellent option for Adventure Guide Diploma graduates as you can transition seamlessly from the Diploma (2 yrs.) to the Degree (2 yrs.) and leave TRU with a uniquely specific and applicable degree that will make you more valuable to the industry you are getting in to.

More Info can be found on the BIS website HERE

The BIS is your degree. You need to build it, you need to execute it and you need to make it work for you. The possibilities are endless, but to help get you going, here are some options past Adventure Guide Diploma graduates have build into their own degrees.

The BIS is made up for four required courses, one critical thinking course, two writing intensive courses (+5ooo words or more of submitted course work), three breadth requirement courses, six courses to make up your concentration and four elective courses to round out your 60 credits.

Please remember, these are just examples of what has been used in the past, there are plenty of options out there that will work better for you.

Required Courses (12 credits)

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies (IDIS 3000) – Winter semester of 3rd year

Research Project (IDIS 4980) – Fall semester of 4th year

Graduating Essay (IDIS 4990) – Winter semester of 4th year

Research Methods (TMGT 3050 or SOCI 3800) – Fall semester of 3rd year

Critical Thinking Courses (3 credits)

ANTH 4050 Indian Reserve Communities (highly recommended!)

TMGT 4080 Reflecting Philosophically on Tourism

SOCI 3169 Tourism and Social Policy

(There are plenty of other courses out there that can count as your critical thinking course)

Writing Intensive (6 Credits – Any course with +5000 words of submitted course work)

ADVG 4070 Directed Studies in Adventure

ADVG 4020 Legal Liability and Risk Management

ADVG 4050 International Adventure Tourism Business

EDEF 3100 The History of Education

ADVG 4240 Adventure Studies Field Research

ADVG 4800 Adventure Capstone Course

ADVG 4250 Adventure Studies Practicum

Breadth Requirements  (9 upper level Credits – have to be outside of your concentration)

SERV 3000 Service Learning

ENTR 4750 New Venture Creation

MKGT 3451 Professional Selling

EDEF 3200 Theoretical Frameworks of Education

PSYC 3991 The Psychology of Human Resilience

ANTH 4040 Peoples and Cultures of the North American Arctic

ECON 3550 International Economics

TMGT 4800 Tourism Enterprise Consulting Project

BBUS 3471 Consumer Behaviors

OEED 4050 Outdoor and Experiential Education Concepts

GEOG 3129 Geography of Natural Hazards

OCHS 3511 Occupational Health & Safety Legislation & Standards

Concentration (18 upper level credits, including two or more course codes)

Pate: Adventure Business and Entrepreneurship

ADVG 4010 Business Application of Eco and Adventure Tourism
ADVG 4210 Adventure and Sport Marketing
TMGT 3040 Land Use Management
TMGT 4150 Managing Small Tourism Enterprises
TMGT 3030 Financial Management For Tourism Enterprises
TMGT 4120 Developing New Tourism Enterprises
TMGT 4140 Tourism Strategy
TMGT 4170 Information Technology in Tourism

Kate: International Adventure Tourism and Marketing

ADVG 4010 Business Application of Eco and Adventure Tourism
ADVG 4210 Adventure and Sport Marketing
ADVG 4250 Adventure Studies Practicum
MKGT 3450 Professional Selling
MKGT 4420 Brand Management
MKGT 4490 Business to Business Marketing
MKGT 4400 Professional Sales Management
MKGT 4460 Marketing Strategy

Dan: Outdoor and Experiential Education

OEED 4150 Outdoor and Experiential Education Concepts
OEED 4200 Outdoor and Exp. Education Program Development, Design, and Delivery
OEED 4250 Outdoor Leadership
ADVG 4020 Legal Liability for Eco & Adventure Businesses
OEED 4700 Initiative and Challenge Games
ADVG 4220 The Culture of Adventure

PJ: Adventure Tourism Marketing

ADVG 4210 Adventure and Sport Marketing

ADVG 4010 Business Applications for Eco & Adventure Tourism

MKTG 3471 Consumer Behavior

ADVG 3130 Adventure Operations

TMGT 4010 Experience Creation and Product Development

ADVG 4130 Adventure Field School


Electives (12 credits, can be lower level)

  • Do you have more then 60 credits from the Adventure Guide Diploma? You can use the extra lower level credits as elective courses. Your field courses count. Didn’t take something you wanted to in the diploma? You can register to take it during your BIS and have it count towards your elective requirements.
  • Interested in getting ACMG certified? Both assistant and full certifications can be transferred in as elective credits in your BIS.

Things to Remember About Your BIS

  • It is your creation
  • You can do it in a time frame that works for you
  • If you have done at least 60 credits at TRU, you can take courses (up to 60 credits) from other universities that can count towards your TRU BIS Degree (120 Credits total)
  • Open Learning courses are a great way to chip away at credits while living outside of Kamloops, and TRU has plenty of Open Learning courses to choose from!
  • You need at least two course codes in your concentration (eg. ADVG and TMGT)
  • Your breadth requirements need to be DIFFERENT upper level course codes then the two in your concentration (eg. ANTH, MKTG, OEED work if your concentration is ADVG and TMGT)


Mark Wallin – Chair of Journalism, Communication and New Media Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator                                                                           mwallin@tru.ca                                                                                                                                         Office: 250.377.6072

Craig Campbell – ADVG Faculty
Office: 778.471.8434

Ski Tour 1! – By Carter Jewett


Photo: Carter Jewett

January 3rd, 2016 marked the first day of Ski Tour 1 and our official start to the winter semester. To start off the course, we had two full days of classroom sessions at TRU learning about avalanche safety, snow pack and stability. The gear bay was wide open for us to rent out any gear that was necessary for this trip. This meant shovels, probes, transceivers and ice saws, as well as touring skis. After splitting into our two groups we were able to practice with our transceivers and understand the pattern at which they send signals.

On January 5th, it was an early start to the day loading the vans and driving to Clearwater. Unfortunately we were met by a sheet of fog that engulfed the entire sky. After meeting with Ian, the owner of the lodges at Wells Grey Provincial Park and speaking with the helicopter pilot, it was a no go for flying that afternoon. The Trophy Hut group was presented with an exciting opportunity to ride up in a 1960’s snow cat and tour up to the hut that evening! We were treated with touring up under the night sky with the moon and stars shinning upon us. When we arrived at Trophy Hut it was around 6pm and time to start dinner. I was cooking tonight and it was spring rolls, fajitas and freshly baked cookies for dinner.


Photo: Kendra Hicks

The next morning everyone gathered at the table for the morning guide meeting. In this meeting we talk about the conditions, weather and snowpack from the day before. Then we discuss weather from this morning and the predictions for today. Today’s task was to navigate our way down to the helicopter landing and retrieve our food that was dropped off for us. It was interesting to see how important altimeters are as it is very easy to get carried away when skiing and go past your destination.


Photo: Kendra Hicks

After bringing the food back up to the hut, it was time for our evening guides meeting. In this meeting we discuss the weather from today as well as the snow pack at different altitudes and different aspects. It was also made very clear that keeping a logbook and recording the weather every morning and evening is an important part of being a ski guide. That evening everyone worked on their route cards and made lunches for the next day. After the morning guides meeting, the entire group took part in an avalanche scenario and had to dig up 3 transceivers. We learned about how to properly use our shovels, probes and transceivers and practiced the act of shoveling out of “victim.” It was then time to learn about different snow pact tests and what the results mean in regards to avalanche safety. The next day we split into two groups and separated after the morning guides meeting then started venturing off. It was great to practice breaking trail and leading the group up the mountain. Micro terrain selection really is an art and proved to be very difficult at first. With some amazing views, great skiing, navigation and route finding and a day full of learning; everyone had fallen in love with ski touring. It was our last night at the hut which meant a full clean up and trip debrief.


Photo: Kendra Hicks


Photo: Kendra Hicks


In the morning we all toured out together and skied down to the vans. I can speak for everyone in saying that Ken Wylie and Phil Marchand were amazing guides that taught us an incredible amount about track setting, navigation, snow pack stability and even a bit about ourselves.


Photo: Kendra Hicks

Tiger Country – By Liam Ortiz

It’s dark as I stick my head outside, wishing I didn’t have to leave my warm down cocoon just yet. My breath condenses in the air around me, illuminated by my headlamp. It’s a little before five, although hardened alpinists would scoff at this “alpine start” for how late it is. I stretch my neck and look up at the stars, patches of them visible through low hanging clouds. Around me people are beginning to stir, moaning softly in protest to the hour as base camp awakens. Summit day.

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I feel like a crab, so I decide to walk like one. I scuttle along the surface of the glacier, sending showers of small ice crystals tumbling off of my black gaiters as I kick my crampons into the ice, using french technique. “What the hell are you doing?” Fridjon asks, one of our instructors. I grin at him “crab walk to victory!” I shout as I scuttle further away. Fridjon is an Icelandic Heli-ski and mountain guide, and one of only a handful of people ever to survive a size four avalanche and live to tell about it. That’s the size of avalanche with the destructive potential to “…destroy a railway car, large truck, several buildings or a forest area up to four hectares” according to the Canadian Avalanche Association.

Dawn isn’t even visible on the horizon yet as the van pulls into the parking lot. We jump out, grab our packs, and almost immediately start walking. The headlamp of our leader is barely visible as we trudge in silence down the rocky path to where the real trail starts. We climb in silence, unzipping layers as we begin to sweat with the climb. It is light by the time we reach the foot of the glacier. I pull the rope out of my pack, and begin to flake it out for the team to tie into. We don’t need to speak, we all know the drill at this point. The glacier is steeper than anything we’ve climbed yet, we will have to ascend it on all fours, using our ice axes to aid us, and fixing ice screws into the glacier at key points for protection. When the team is ready, our instructor nods at us as sets off with our other lead on all fours, sprinting up the ice on all fours like a pair of wolverines. When they fix the anchor, we follow up in their footsteps. We stand on the ice and snow, the toe points of our crampons keeping us where we are. You can touch the ground beside you while standing up.

For the rest of the story and more great pictures, check out Liam’s Blog

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ADVG 2760 Ice Climbing By: Travis Aback


We started are first day at a venue called Shwartz WI 2, here we got are first “flail lap” out as Sean Isaac would say. The purpose of the first day was an introduction into Movement on ice, while top roping. On the second day we drove to Malgine Canyon WI 3, where we climbed the Queen.



The canyon is beautiful, with tightly carved out walls all around you. The purpose of the second day is to learn intermediate movement, ice screw placement and mock leading.


The third day was held at Tangle Creek WI 2 in between Jasper and Lake Louise, The goal at Tangle was for everyone to do some more mock leads and then real leads. Everyone reached their goal of leading WI 2 that day, the stoke was high! We stayed the last 3 nights at Rampart Hostel, a quaint set of cabins off of HWY 93N.



Our fourth day began at Cline River Gallery where we climbed Pure Energy WI 4. The goals for day four was to have a movement test on TR and review multi pitch climbing. On the final day we returned to Cline River Gallery, but not before stopping for a look at a beautiful sunrise that looks like it was drawn with pastels.


We split into groups and finished off the course with a two and three pitch climb. I would like to thank our instructors Sean Isaac and Jen Olson on behalf of everyone for the amazing course. Were all defiantly hooked on ice climbing!





Useful Links


TRU Adventure Program Website

TRU Adventure Studies Facebook Page

TRU AdventureU Outdoor Club Facebook Page



Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada Forecasters Blog

Avalanche Canada Mountain Weather Forecast



Spot WX

Washington 36km Precip Loop

Nav Canada Weather Forecasts and Observations

Snow Forecast.com

Mountain Forecast.com

National Weather Data in KML/KMZ Formats (Google Earth Overlay)



WaterOffice Hydrometric Data Water Levels- BC

Marine Forecasts

Surf Forecast.com

Magic Seaweed Surf Forecast



Magnetic Declination Finder

Front Counter BC Discovery Tool

GeoGratis Topo Map Finder



Mountain Bike Tourism Association

Backcountry Lodges Of BC Association

HeliCat Canada

Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC

BC River Outfitters Association

Paddle Canada

CanoeKayak BC

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides



Destination BC Research Resources

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Kootenay Rockies Tourism



Animated Knots (Know your Knots!)