But I already have my AST1

After 20 years of snowmobiling in the mountains, last Feb I decided to take the AST1 level Avalanche Skills Training Course that Zak’s Tracs was putting on at Bonnyville. This was a two evening session in my home town, so I figured what the heck, I can take the time and take the course.
During the classroom course I couldn’t help but think that I was already doing a lot of the right things, but that it took me twenty years to get that figured out. Lori Zacaruk was our instructor, and she does a very good job conveying the importance of avalanche awareness and safety. It was a very humbling experience to know that I learned in two evenings as much if not more than I had in twenty years of riding in the mountains. With that I pledged to myself that I would take the field Training portion as soon as I could. That same night I signed up for the Field training session in Valemount.

That was last year. Come Feb of this year I was again pleased to know that I had learned a whole lot more about avalanche awareness. I was bummed out to learn that Lori wasn’t going to be our instructor for the field training session but rather some long hair hippy snowboard looking dude named Eric. There was another lesson learned. Never judge a book by its cover. Eric is an excellent instructor that is not only passionate about avalanche awareness but also well experience in avalanches.

Well one year later and I’m in a Classroom again with Lori as an instructor. This time it’s a one evening course. The Indoor Rescue Workshop. This work shop is another valuable lesson that I can take out to the mountains with me to help ensure that my friends and I have the necessary training to safely enjoy our snowmobiling experience in the mountains.
At the end of the course Lori asked me if I thought that after taking the AST1 if there was any value in taking the workshop. My answer to her was absolutely. I told her that at first I thought that the Rescue Workshop would be a good refresher but turns out that it’s just another chapter to an ongoing learning experience.
My advice to anyone that does any snowmobiling in the mountains or any winter outdoor activities in the mountains, take the AST1 Avalanche Skills Training Course and Indoor Rescue Workshop, the two complement each other. Zac’s Tracs and their staff come highly recommended and I have nothing but great things to say about them. Lori I would like to thank you and Dawn personally for your dedication to Avalanche Awareness and could you please pass on a thank-you to Eric for his great work as well.
Ron Charawich, Bonnyville, AB Nov 2015

Client Reviews - Zac's Tracs training programs

Why choose Zac’s for your avy training?

This by far is the better of the two avalanche courses that I have taken. I was very impressed with your knowledge of the subject and your level of enthusiasm that YOU maintained during the course. You clearly have a solid understanding of avalanche theory and are able to transfer your knowledge in a clear and concise manner.

I commend you on your use of analogies and your ability to make complex subjects easy to understand. I really enjoyed the analogy of the serial killer compared to an avalanche. You know they are out there and you have to look for the clues and hope you find them before they find you.

Again, the course structure was fantastic and your enthusiasm was contagious. You were able to capture my attention at the start of the day and carry it through to the end. I look forward to taking your field day in the near future and I know I will not be disappointed. Thank you again and keep up the great work. It was a pleasure to take this class from you and I will recommend it to everyone I know.
Darryl E., Regina, SK December 2011

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My son William and I attended the AST course on November 10th in Edmonton …. I’m the guy from Ontario :) I just wanted to pass along my thoughts on the course and the day we had with you.
First and foremost “WELL DONE” we truly appreciated the course content, presentation of information and your skill as a facilitator. Your passion for what you do was evident in every breath you took as you guided us through the course material. I don’t often see an instructor with such enthusiasm so it was much appreciated as it makes a significant impact on how we learn, again well done!
We both left the course feeling much better about our riding plans going forward, the term look for the “Gorilla” has taken on a whole new meaning and we are thankful how that was presented, in fact the phrase “Look for the Gorilla” will be branded on our sleds this year just as a reminder! I’m looking forward to day two for the field work to complete this portion of the AST program.
Congratulations on a fine job, thanks for caring about guys like myself that in past have overlooked some critical safety items, we are true believers thanks to your course!
As a personal observation the avalanche burial simulation put me over the top and created such a hunger for the remaining content. Excellent way to get things started … you definitely got my attention!
All the very best to you and Zac Trac’s Team going forward ….
Brad C., November 2012

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My son wants to ride with his dad in the mountains and I decided that they had to take an avalanche class before he would be allowed to go. I started to research the AST1 providers and every one that I talked to kept mentioning one name in particular. I looked into ZacTracs Avalanche Training and consistently received great feedback.

I was so excited that such a well known group would consider coming to a small town. Really enjoyed meeting all of you and thank you again for being so accommodating. All ages have enjoyed your presentation. Hope to see you again someday! Stacey B., Hines Creek, AB January 2013


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APRIL 2016 – We have had an awesome season to date! Large classes offer an excellent opportunity for sledders to teach fellow sledders. Riders are supporting each other by sharing stories and experiences about close calls and accidents that they have been involved in. There is tremendous value in reviewing the past if we carry forward the learning of what worked and what didn’t. These stories arm us with new ‘safety tools’. We hope to never need them, however, if faced with an emergency situation our ability to respond efficiently is improved as we now have more ideas to draw from.

Here are a couple of photos from one of our past classes!


CLICK the word ‘Comment’ below to read comments from past Zac’s students.

Comment [42]

Alberta Snowmobile Association's Safe Rider Program

Note: This program is provided FREE OF CHARGE to school groups throughout Alberta.
Costs are covered by the Alberta Snowmobile Association and corporate partners.
A special word of thanks to Avalanche Canada as they have been supporting this program as a significant presenting partner for the past 8 years!

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CLICK HERE if you would like a Safe Rider Team member to contact you

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CLICK HERE if you are ready to register ONLINE!

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CLICK HERE to download a 5 page Invitation Package including registration form.

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CLICK HERE for a Printable Registration Form that you can Fax/Email
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Another great season is underway with Zac’s Tracs and the Alberta Snowmobile Association!
CLICK HERE To view a calendar of the schools that we are scheduled to visit.

In the past five seasons the ASA Safe Rider Off-Highway Vehicle Safety program was presented by Lori Zacaruk and her team to over 45,000 school students. 437 presentations were made in 257 schools. In a typical season we travel 16,000 km teaching avalanche courses, ASA Safe Rider courses and attending tradeshows in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Program Feedback:

Perfect for our Grade 7-12 school
The Safe Rider program presented by Lori Zacaruk of the Alberta Snowmobile Association was perfect for our Grade 7-12 school. It focused on the core concepts that OHV users need to know in order to participate in these activities in a safe way. The information was presented in a clear and age appropriate way and that included a good balance of story telling, audience participation, multimedia, data presentation and instructions. Definitely an enjoyable presentation that impacted students in a positive way.
Adam Argento (Outdoor Education Teacher, Oilfields High School, Black Diamond AB)

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The overall presentation was a 5/5!!
Lori is an excellent presenter. She had an excellent connection with our students and was able to sustain their interest throughout the entire presentation (Some of our students attended a double presentation for a total time of 120 minutes). Our program covered snowmobile, ATV, and avalanche safety.

Lori was excellent in terms of her ability to relate to our students and managed to engage students that are typically non-participants in traditional learning environments. The backdrops, props, videos and gear kept the students focused and engaged. It was perfectly suited to our ‘hands-on’ students.

This presentation was very relevant and valuable to our students as our riders are getting younger and younger. What better place to teach safety than in school. We would like to see this program again and are interested to participate with Lori in a Video Conferencing learning environment should this become available in the future!
S Cummings, M Taylor, K McIntyre Teachers, Sundre Learning Centre, Sundre, AB

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Overall presentation 5/5!
The program was very informative, easy to understand and made the students aware of the dangers without being scary. Good for our younger audience. The instructor was/is an operator of the machines which made the material more real. Lori had a connection to the students right from the start.
The visual display, hands on activities and interaction with the students was excellent. She is the best presenter I’ve seen.
Looking forward to the program returning in the future. Repetition is the trick.
Andrea Ungurian and Margit Gerber Teachers, Teepee Creek School

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I was really happy with Lori’s Sledsmart presentation for our middle school students at Pine Grove in Edson. She immediately captured the kids attention with her display, which included a sled and a small quad. Her interactive style kept the kids involved and her personal stories about racing were really interesting for them to hear. But most importantly, Lori brought a wealth of knowledge about how to stay safe on quads, sleds, dirt bike and during snow sports. For a group of students in a rural community, the large majority of whom are involved in these activities on a regular basis, this information was extremely important. It is presentations like this that will help us keep our young people safe and reduce the number of accidents which occur each year. Thank you Lori!
Helen Payette, Teacher, Pine Grove School, Edson, AB
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Hello Lori,
Thank-you so much for sending the photos. By all accounts the presentation was thought to be EXCELLENT!!!! Thank-you so much for including our school as a stop for your program. We really enjoyed everything about it.

Thanks, Lisl Bahrynowski
Grade 4 5 6 Teacher – AISI Lead Teacher, Wildwood School

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