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]

Best money spent...EVER!

Hi Lori and Randy,

The AST level 1 course you instructed in Chetwynd was very informative, and I commend the both of you for doing a really good job.
Keep up the good work, for I sincerely feel that you are saving lives. The knowledge received from this course has definitely changed the way I will look at snow for the rest of my life.

All the information from the classroom session and all the practice from the field session was amazing. Our group is now turning the screws on the remaining members from our area that did not attend. I personally feel that anyone who is thinking about sledding in the mountains, or even experienced riders, should seriously consider taking this course, for it was the best money I spent, EVER!

I think most would agree that the unstable snowpack and all the attention with the unfortunate avalanche victims this year has really raised avalanche awareness, and what better year to learn and study snowpack conditions. I will admit that some of our (my) previous riding habits, and lack of knowledge could have easily made us a statistic maybe we were just lucky no incidences occurred.
For all those who have suffered a loss of a loved one due to an avalanche, my heart goes out to you. I hope I never have to use the knowledge from this course to rescue a fellow friend or family member, but I do feel a lot more comfortable knowing that I now have the professional training to recognise the dangers, and warning signs, and what to do if trapped victims in an avalanche has occurred.

Thanks again ZacsTracs, a definite two thumbs up from me! I wish you all the best, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Sincerely, Rick Sawchyn, High Prairie, Ab

Rave Reviews! Happy Clients

Hi Lori, When I looked at the number of sledders in the Blue River, Valemount and McBride areas over this past weekend I was amazed considering the avalanche danger was Extreme on Friday and High on both Saturday and Sunday. The avalanche danger level does not seem to keep the sledders off the mountains. My initial thought upon seeing this was less than flattering for the sledders. Then it occurred to me that the quality of instruction they are receiving is keeping them safe during times of high avalanche danger.

I know that you are largely responsible for the quality of training that many of these sledders received. I just want you to know that you and your team of instructors are making a difference. I certainly expected to be dealing with a tragedy over the weekend based on the number of sledders and the avalanche danger. Thank you for all you do to make theirs a safer sport!

Cheers, Dale Mason
BC Search and Rescue Assoc.
Regional Director, Cariboo Chilcotin Region
http://www.bcsara.com
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I was skeptical…We already know how to…
I was a little skeptical at what was actually going to be taught but the AST1 classroom session was definitely beneficial and I will push everyone from our group to take it. With the instructor being involved and energetic it kept everyone’s attention and the importance of what was being taught. The class and Rescue Workshop were definitely worth attending. Actually learning the proper techniques made the time worth it. We’re all bad for the “I know how to work my beacon and probe and of course know how to shovel!” attitude but I admit I was proven wrong. I had the understanding of it but when it’s potentially lives at stake no time or money can replace knowing that your knowledge can save lives. Have to thank everyone at ZacsTracs for the awesome day.
Rod, Sylvan Lake, AB – Nov 6, 2016

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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… click here to READ MORE
Ron C., Bonnyville, AB – Nov 2015
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Thanks again Lori, I am truly thankful you were able to come up to Fort St John. I spoke to several people after you were booked to come, they all said the same thing, that you put on a great course and were the best, you did not disappoint. I have had 14 different texts and emails since I got home. All said the same thing, thanks and that they enjoyed it a lot. Have a safe trip home. Keep your skis off the snow pointing straight up to the clear blue sky. Rick ‘C’, Fort St John.
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“The biggest misconception that many mountain snowmobile riders have is that they believe that they don’t ride in avalanche terrain. If you ride in the mountains, you are exposed to avalanches whether you are the one climbing the hill, or the one sitting at the bottom on the trail. Having been involved in a major avalanche makes it easy for me to recognize the need for avalanche training – don’t wait for this to be your reason. The Zacstracs team does an excellent job covering all aspects of avalanche safety. Everything from understanding avalanche advisory bulletins to proper beacon searches and everything in between. Lori and Randy are both snowmobile riders and they give training that is specific and relevant to help keep snowmobilers alive in avalanche terrain.”
Andy Mills, RMK Program Leader, Polaris Industries, Minnesota
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Hi Lori & Randy, Fantastic work on the development and distribution of the Zacs Tracks Email Training Series leading up to the winter season, I find them very informative and of professional quality, WELL DONE! Can I forward this around to our SAR groups?

Best Regards, Jeff Haack – Search and Rescue Specialist
PEP – Provincial Emergency Program British Columbia
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Few, if any, educators in the field of avalanche training have positively impacted the snowmobile community as Lori and Randy Zacaruk have.
As an education review committee member of the American Avalanche Association, I was on a fact finding mission to help develop snowmobile-specific avalanche training guidelines for the United States. When I contacted Lori and Randy, I was greeted with their openness and eagerness to help improve avalanche education and backcountry safety.
Their unique approach, creative methods, and years of experience have been instrumental to the American Avalanche Association Education Review Committee in the developmental stage of U.S. standards in avalanche education, curriculum development, and backcountry safety.
Lori and Randy have shared their educational techniques -which they have developed over the years. This has helped us better understand the needs of the backcountry snowmobile community. Through their company Zac’s Tracs, Lori and Randy provide pertinent and quality avalanche education that is currently setting the standard in snowmobile backcountry travel and safety.
*Jacob Urban – Member of the Education Review Committee
American Avalanche Association*

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Lori/Randy, I wanted to thank you again for this past weekend. It is truly amazing to realize how little one actually does know; I had no idea that I was so ill-prepared for an emergency. It was a wonderful learning experience, and I feel that I have obtained skills that will allow myself to improve my preparedness.
You and Randy were fantastic instructors and very helpful (his acting skills aren’t too bad either)! So thank you again Lori, I will absolutely recommend Zac’s to everyone who rides without a course.
I hope you have a great summer, and a great season next year.
Jon H., Edmonton, AB
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Hello Lori, I just wanted to write to you to tell you how informative and knowledgeable your course has been for my snowmobiling experience. I have been going to the Mountains riding since 2011 and since going my other half stated we should take your course. He has been going for 25 years and had only then taken a course.

I just feel that even though I do not ride in areas that do not appear safe, I now know that life can change in an instant for someone who doesn’t bother to take a look around. As much as I would be the first to want to help a person who is buried, I now base my choices on weather the surrounding area is safe before I would rush over to help.

I believe the knowledge of the snow and layers has given me a great tool to make sure that when we ride we are safe. I always check the avalanche report before heading out and most hotels now have a sign in and sign out book that we do use to make sure that someone outside my group knows the area we intend on riding.

The classroom knowledge especially the breathing through the straw put it in perspective. Then when we attended the field to pull it all together to how tired you get in 2 mins of digging and how much you have to be aware of on the mountain. I am that one bossy person who tells my friends if you want to ride there you may die there because I will not be digging you out if it is not safe to be there.

I know that things can change in an instant even for the simplest of areas. We had a friend who attempted a small creek hill that was maybe 20 feet and his sled came back on him and he was buried under the machine. Thank god we were all there to help him get out, because going there alone may have been a bad day for his family and he would of died. He was buried under the snow with his sled sitting on top of him and he could breath cause you could hear him screaming for help. But who knows if he was there longer than the minute we were there to get him out.

I have been to the mountains and blown away by the beautiful scenery, but as we all know there have been so many who have not come back and have died without reason. I believe in order to love snowmobiling you must care enough to protect yourself and all others who are with you. We always ride to the lowest riders ability, so that they do not compromise there safety or feel they are ruining our day. Because plain and simply if someone died that would ruin more than a day.

The field person that came to Valemount, BC on February 7 and 8, 2015 was amazing and the knowledge base that he held and passed on to our group was absolutely amazing.

I always suggest to everyone that snowmobiles in the mountains to take your course. It is the one thing I could not see myself not being a part of now that I have the knowledge to pass on.

Thank you for the knowledge to stay safe and alive!

C Skinner Jul 2016


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Thanks again for putting on the GP course, it may have already saved my life.
I was sledding out in Kakwa by Mt. Alexander, travelling across a glacier. I was only going about 5-10km/hr (basically just sightseeing) when the snow underneath me gaveway. Turns out it was a crevasse that was blown over, I just looked forward to see the snow breaking up under my ski’s but it was to late to do anything. I landed in the bottom and was wedged between two ice surfaces and more snow landed on top of me. I could not move, see, and quickly ran out of breath. I was fighting like mad to get free and realized if I didn’t get air I would pass out. I remembered in your course about one guy having to calm himself and control his breathing. So I stopped fighting and look small breaths and in between rests I fought to get free.


I was probably only trapped for 5 minutes but that was long enough. Once I got my feet under me and looked up I was about 85 feet down and my sled was about 10 – 15 feet hanging upside down above me. When my friend came back looking for me he went to run around the hole and fell in the same crack, luckily it was narrow and with his leg dangling he was able to pull himself to the side. They had just enough rope to send down to me, with a shovel handle tied to the end I sat on it like a t-bar and they hoisted me straight up to the surface.


All I suffered were bruises, so as bad as it went it really couldn’t have gone any better haha. My sled is still there and we’re working out a plan to retrieve it. In all it probably took an hour to get me out. In retrospect I shouldn’t have been where I was and my friend should have evaluated the scene before running to my aid.

So, we learned a couple lessons the hard way. I know you guys don’t really talk about glaciers but hopefully you can take a little from my experience to teach others. So again thanks and talk to you soon.
Kory B., Grande Prairie Mar/09

Apr 4/16 – Kory recently uploaded a video of the experience. Click here to watch. coarse language

Apr 5/16 Right This Minute an online TV show spotted the new upload and tracked down Kory for a Skype interview. Click here to check out their interpretation of the experience.

Good morning Lori, I would like to thank you for setting us up with Will for the field training in Valemount. He was an excellent instructor and kept everyone engaged the entire day. I can’t say enough good about him and the training he provided. There were a couple of guys that were a bit skeptical before we started the course but by the end they had completely bought in to the need for training. I am glad that I was able to get my whole crew engaged in this and that everyone got so much out of the training. Again thanks for everything. C. Chasmar, SK Apr 2016

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The AST1 class and rescue workshop were definitely worth the time and money to learn how to protect yourself and friends from the dangers that lay in wait.
The knowledge to go ahead with is priceless and the field course will be a great way to experience what was learned. I gained alot of information that will be helpful to making proper choices in my future rides.
The best part is feeling confident that if a rescue was ever required I could help.
Highly recommend this course even as an update to everyone out there.
Rescue workshop is definitely worth taking. Learn how to use your equipment and to learn how some of the equipment people are carrying would be unreliable if ever needed. Jeremy, Regina Dec 5, 2015
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Wow! Money well spent. I appreciated the honest approach to the equipment.
The expert opinion saves me the hassle of buying gear that is ineffective or sub par.
I work in emergency service and have taken many adult education classes and taught a few myself. The instructor’s knowledge and enthusiasm was great.
Lori understands what helps the adult student retain the information.
She was very in tune with how the class was feeling and made sure to keep everyone involved, especially when the afternoon rolled around.
Before the class I had reviewed as much as possible on the Internet and stayed pretty safe.
This class made everything clear and gave me the understanding of “why”. The terminology was explained so that everyone could understand.
I can’t stress how helpful this class was.
Avalanche Rescue has been developing for decades now. By attending get the workshop we were given the basics on where to start and what to do and how things have evolved. I can see why people should keep updated as you can never learn too much.
Without this class the average person would be lost when a rescue was needed.
In an emergency, panic takes over and it is difficult to think of the best way to perform. It is now clear on where to start, and what is needed in a moments notice. I’ll definitely be passing your info along to other riders that I know!
Jeff, Saskatoon Dec 6, 2015
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The information provided to me after I have been sledding in the backcountry for over five years was for the most part all new. Awesome class, one heck of a job instructing, thank you very much.
Always took a transceiver when I rode but I got my eyes opened up on the how to search along with proper shovel, probe and where to store certain equipment. Instruction was top notch, thank you.
Richard, Regina Dec 5, 2015
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It was most definitely worth my time and money.
I gained the knowledge to recognize the danger signs of unsafe areas. Learned terminology to be able to understand the Avalanche forecast and reports.
The best part was Lori the instructor and the way she keeps you engaged the whole day. :)
Kyla, Bonnyville Nov 20, 2015
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The AST1 snowmobile course was worth the money and much more. I don’t believe anything needs to be improved, I would of had no problem spending even more classroom time. Along with the prevention side of the training I also gained skills to organize and perform a rescue on a buried avalanche victim. The best part was the rescue session, and I look forward to my upcoming field session. I have informed my riding group they can get AST1 training or I will no longer be riding with them.
Ryan, Fort McMurray Nov 7, 2015
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Cheers to you, Randy and your crew for the great job you guys did this past weekend. Learned alot of valuable information this past weekend that really makes you think now before you jump on your sled and try take on the mountains. I already got two buddies convinced to take your course. Hopefully they sign up sooner than rather then later. Thanks again! Colin L. Jan 26/10

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Lori/Randy, Just a quick note to say thanks for the info/knowledge that you crammed into us! (l.o.l). The classroom & field training made it alot easier to break down/understand the info on the avalanche bulletins. Beacon & recovery training was great! It really stressed the importance of communication, proper utilization of the tools at your disposal, and what you can do in a relatively short time frame if working together. Warren had a great idea to get the guys that didn’t come to do beacon/recovery practice, (ie: poker style format).
We still got razzed for “wasting a weekend” in their minds, but I simply responded saying that I valued their lives more than the monies/time invested. They usually then are dumbfounded and ask, “what did you learn”? I then respond by saying if I were to get buried in an avalanche & you were there with your current knowledge, I would be dead!
I think we are on the right track! Thanks again & hope you both get to spend more well deserved time with the kids once the season is over.
Glenn MacIntosh, High Prairie,AB Apr 1/09
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Thank you Lori, once again this course was an eye opener this is the second class of yours I have attended and I am taking back some more knowledge and awareness pertaining to avalanche education. I realized after this short session there is a little bit more to using the beacon then I knew, now I am really going to put the pressure on the friends and family in our riding group to attend avalanche awareness and a basic first aid course and looking forward to the field course I have yet to take.
We appreciate what you are doing for this recreational sport we all love, takes allot of time and dedication to do what you and your colleagues are doing.
Thank you again, Dave Zant Nov 26/09

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Just wanted to send a quick email letting you know we enjoyed our Avy training over the last two nights. We came away from the classroom sessions with lots of new knowledge, and plenty of great information to help us in our future sledding adventures. We are looking forward to seeing you again in Valemount in December.
We particularly took note of the discussion on group riding practices, overnight preparedness, and group safety ideas.We have always tried to consider these factors in our group, and you offered lots of great ideas.
Your teaching ability, knowledge, and personality made it a very enjoyable class. Thanks again, Dean Oct 29/09

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My father and I took the AST1 course in Grande Prairie and I would like to start out saying thank you to you and Randy for putting on such a great course. I’m pretty new to the whole sledding business and I learned a ton of useful information. My father, that has been sledding for years with his friends, told me he was amazed on how much he learned from your info and rescue strategies. I feel much more safe going riding with him now that he knows that much more, and I’m sure he feels the same about me. Jason R., Grande Prairie, AB – Feb 19/09

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Hi Lori,
Just a quick note to thank you and your staff for such a fantastic course. The info you provided and the manner in which you provided it was just awesome.
I took in so much critical info both in the classroom and in the field. The way you made the classroom portion so interactive really kept it interesting and lively. The pics and videos were also a real eye-opener. You talked about tools and equipment to bring out with you, but what I learned in this course will be the best tool in my pack.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone who enjoys the great winter outdoors. One thing I’ve definitely noticed is how I look at the mountains now when riding. A few friends and I just got back from Hasler, BC and it was so reassuring knowing what to look for and where not to go. We saw evidence of several slab avalanches on windloaded slopes. It was great looking for things taken up in the course.
At any rate you had mentioned coming back to do an AST2 course next year. Please keep me posted as I am definitely game for a that course as well as a refresher in AST1. Since taking the course I have told many people about it that are looking forward to you coming back.
Take good care and please keep me in the loop.
Cheers, Rich E., Grovedale, AB – Feb 22/09

These students participated in the 2009 Grande Prairie AST1 course.
Over 110 sledders took part. For the low down on this class, please CLICK HERE.

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Recently I took an avalanche course from Lori and Randy in Fort Saskatchewan then followed by the field course in Valemount, BC. Since the course and all the recent avalanche activity in the mountains this year we decided to play with a lot of caution. We were very cautious and spent most of the time in the tree’s and meadows, with some playing on smaller slopes after evaluating them. We played all day and were just having a great day. There was a mid slope over to the north east side of the area a few of them went to ride through earlier, that we were informed not to climb by our fallen friend, just play in the lower section that’s it. I seen him playing in the trees and meadows and making his way up the mid slope and decided to tag along, I always ride in two’s in case someone is stuck or in trouble. He never climbed and stayed in the mid slope, then he turned around on the burm to the slope and while he was turning around he was overcome by large avalanche, he pulled his Snowpulse bag and headed east, the avalanche by then was coming from the west, north and east and he was doomed. I pulled my ABS and hit my throttle, as the ground beneath me was disappearing and all I can see was a large wall of snow I started taking off, then bang, my head and chest hit the handlebars, I had a huge wall of snow hit me. Everything went black for a split second then I found myself pulling out of the wall and flying down the hill through trees and everything in my path, I held on for my life. I made it down, then right away every thing came to me that I learned in the course, I quickly opened my jacket to let all the packed snow out and cleaned my face and headed back up, with my ABS pulled and waving my arm to my friends on the slope beside they came to the hill. I took charge, looked at the risk and made sure my sled was faced downhill as well as the others. We started heading up with my Pieps DSP on search I discovered a burial at 55m, then we started making our way up, then it found at 33m then 16m at that time his sled was discovered just the handlebars and the top of the seat, heading in the wrong direction. We kept running up the hill in the exact direction of my Pieps and at 6m we discovered a bit of his Snowpulse bag sticking through the snow, we ran there and started digging him out. This all happened between 5 and 8 minutes of the incident. We got him turned over and commenced CPR that two of us learned through work earlier. Unfortunately he did not make it through this, and he will be in our hearts forever. But through all this I felt very confident about our ability to find him and get him out in a short time, and to be as calm as we possibly could. With the training we had this was invaluable, we knew exactly what to do and this kicked in immediately with out even thinking about it. I would have been totally lost without it. I also remembered once we located the victim, to put click my Pieps back onto send which is very important as well. The only mistake we made that day was we should of read the hill better, we stayed off the slope but we should of not been on the mid area at all, there were terrain traps and trees which took our friend’s life. We will learn from this and spread the word, even though there are areas that look ok and there are a lot of trees an avalanche can strike anywhere and anytime, and the training we took from Zacs Tracs was invaluable. Every mountain snowmobiler should have this. RIP Albert.
Regards, Ron Willert Snowandmud.com

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Zac’s Tracs should definitely be recognized as “Business of the Year” in relation to organized snowmobiling because they believe in what they do…..and what they teach saves lives! They dedicate their time and energy to traveling around in all kinds of weather to teach the safety of snowmobiling, the hazards of back country and avalanche awareness. They not only do this from a classroom perspective, but they take people out to the back country for field trips to put into practice what they have been taught. Many snowmobilers have purchased, and carry with them all the latest and newest safety equipment they hear about and see in magazines, but most have never tried them out. Zac’s Tracs course makes us get the equipment out and teaches, hands on, how to actually use all this safety equipment out in the field by doing mock search & rescue missions. They also teach how to read snow conditions and snow stability by cutting the snow, reading the layers and watching weather changes.*
Two days after taking the course from Zac’s Tracs, I was out snowmobiling with some friends and I was put to the real test when my friends were caught in a major avalanche. My buddy and I who took the course together were lagging behind the group looking at and discussing all the warning signs we were taught about two days prior to this outing. We were on our way into the basin to warn our friends that the area was not safe, but just as we approached the basin we stopped in our tracks and had to watch the avalanche bury and kill 3 of our good friends.
Pull sled out
Photo: Duane Hildebrand (this photo is unrelated to this incident)
I have been a serious back country snowmobiler since 1981 and since I have taken the course from Zac’s Tracs, I ride much differently and much smarter now than I have in the past. I believe that every back country enthusiast should take the course from Zac’s Tracs…….if my 3 friends had been at the course with my buddy & I, I believe they might still be riding with me today. We NEED Zac’s Tracks out here more than ever. There are more sleds now than ever………. they are more powerful and go places we never dreamed of going a few years ago! Business of the Year that saves lives and teaches safety……what could be more important than that!
Claude Legroulx. Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

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“Lori Zacaruk is Canada’s leading avalanche educator for snowmobilers. Without a doubt there is a tally of people who are alive today and sledding in the mountains who would not be here without Lori’s efforts.”

John Kelly, Operations Manager, Canadian Avalanche Centre

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Lori, I took the AST level 1 course from you a few years back and thought it was great. I started riding with a new group this year and encouraged them to get trained up. They went ahead and booked a course through xxxxxxx in xxxxxx and I decided to join them for a refresher.

Stick a feather in your cap. Your course was MUCH better. Way more detail, way more understanding of why conditions develop and way more understanding of prevention.

These guys have talked about booking AST 2 and I told them that you are by far a better instructor…

Keep up the good work. The more training we get, the less people that will die.

P.S. Given what’s gone on this year, I’m riding with a Snowpulse airbag as well. Yes, it’s expensive but there are stats that these save lives. Ask anyone that’s been buried if they would have spent $1,200 to not be buried. If it’s a cash trade off, better clutching doesn’t mean anything if you are dead.

Cheers, H.Y.

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“I learned 90% of the material in the classroom session, however it was the field session that put it all together. The hands-on exercises were well worth the 9 hour drive to the mountains. I feel much more confident in my choices of terrain and understanding of changing conditions. And rescue, well there is no question, before this course I was totally unprepared. You really don’t know what you don’t know. Take a course!”

C. Piché, Saskatchewan

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The information that I needed to be responsible and safe in the backcountry, could not be totaled in a price. The course and the teaching both in class and in the field was awesome. Thank you again for the training. It has proven to be some of the best mountain knowledge that is used every day I go sledding.
Scot Lykins

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I would like to recommend Lori Zacaruk for your Excellence Award for Outstanding Promotion and Development of Snowmobiling. Over the last few years, Lori has done a tremendous job in promoting avalanche awareness and training within the snowmobile community in Western Canada. As an avalanche researcher and developer of avalanche awareness tools, I have found that Lori has been extremely helpful as she is able to provide me with a snowmobile perspective, which is invaluable for the development of effective avalanche safety messages. Only because of her experience and feedback, we were able to the develop the Avaluator, a decision support system for recreationists traveling in avalanche terrain, in a way that makes it relevant and applicable to snowmobile riders. In addition, Lori is one of the most innovative and enthusiastic provider of avalanche courses in the avalanche industry.

I think that the snowmobile and avalanche communities are very fortunate to have a person like Lori who is continuously thriving to promote avalanche safety in the snowmobile sport. While continuously advancing technology allows riders to go further and further into the backcountry, Lori’s work will ensure that they make the right choices and keep coming home from their exciting trips. I could not imagine a better recipient for your award.
Pascal Haegeli, PhD, Avisualanche Consulting
ProbeExplain

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Zac’s have added greatly to avalanche awareness and rescue training for the snowmobile community in western Canada. Their outstanding contribution, in my opinion, has been to bring this service to those snowmobilers who live in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Like me, these flatland folks are not exposed to mountain issues in their daily lives, and are thus probably at greater risk on their three or four annual outings into the “steep and deep”. Before Zac’s, avalanche safety for me consisted of renting a beacon.
Zack’s Tracks has been a presence at most industry trade shows to promote awareness. To make it easy for participants, they have run training courses in the snowmobilers’ own communities, and have made it painless to attend follow-up field work in the mountains. They have nudged many of us into gaining some of the knowledge that, deep down, we know we should have.
This effort takes thousands of kilometers of driving, and many, many days and nights away from home. The probably meager financial return is not their motivator.
Regards,
Charles J. Jennissen
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

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What you do for this community saves lives every day. Without dedicated people like yourself the industry, families, friends and people in the sport would suffer more loss due to the lack of education you enable us all to have. I and all the people I know greatly respect what you do and I thank you for being who you are. Zac’s saves lives!
Grant W., Calgary, AB & Houston, TX

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My name is Lukas Doshewnek and I am an avid mountain sledder from Edmonton, Alberta who enjoys riding in the Canadian Rockies between Revelstoke and McBride, BC. I have ridden for several years without any formal avalanche training. Ignorance is bliss! Upon attending the Edmonton Snowmobile Show I met Lori Zacaruk. She enlightened me on the risks of back country riding and encouraged me to attend her class. Well, I procrastinated for a season about taking her class and then the following year finally did so. My advice to all is if you have the opportunity to attend an avalanche course by Zac’s Tracs, DO IT! Wow, what a great program! Very informative! The class showed me how little I knew about my hobby. We learned about the physical make up of different snow conditions and what they mean to us riders. We learned how to read terrain in order to avoid potential risks while riding and also how to search through avalanche debris as a last resort. I learned many new skills which will require constant sharpening. I also learned that you are only really as safe as the people you ride with. If you get buried, you are depending on their skills. This has changed who I ride with. All of my current riding buddies have been trained by Lori and are confident in each other’s abilities. Knowing more about your environment certainly makes it a lot less frightening.
Thanks Lori!

Best Regards,
Lukas D., Edmonton, AB

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Zac’s Tracs has taken a leadership role in promoting “Safety” in Snowmobiling in Western Canada for years. Snowmobiling and snowmobiles have changed dramatically over the years providing so much more access to backcountry areas and higher terrain that could only be dreamed about in the past. With this access we sled in more snow, increase our sledding season and also increase our risks. Zac’s Tracs have done a wonderful job in educating the snowmobiling community in backcountry safety. It’s not just about avalanche awareness, although this is an important aspect, it is much more.
loading pack
It is about being prepared for the trip and involves packing the proper safety gear, having essentials such as matches, a saw or axe, extra food, having a trip plan and communicating your plan to others. Lori puts everything into perspective through detailed discussions and informative visuals that make it easy for everyone to understand the principles of safety, learn the basic survival skills and most importantly to remember this information long term. The one-day classroom training is very educational and investing in the second day of “field training” really ties everything together. By going out into the mountains and using our avalanche beacons, shovels, probes and performing cross sectional examination of the snow layers led by Lori and Randy was a very important aspect in learning how to assess and manage/avoid risk areas and perform rescue operations.
_The comprehensive training provided by Zac’s Tracs allows everyone to “Sled Safe, Sled Smart” and really have fun snowmobiling in the great outdoors.
Congratulations to Zac’s Tracs for your well deserved recognition. Your dedication and support of organized snowmobiling in Western Canada has made this a better, safer sport for all to enjoy._
Dale Case

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Lori…just a note ,very glad that I took your course in Regina last fall it was a great eye opener . I have worn a beacon for many years ,never really knowing that when the time did come that my chances of finding my buddy were probably slim. They are a lot better now. I write very few emails, just wanted to say that the award was well deserved. There probably has been many lives you have directly saved by your training. I look at snow much different now. I hope you do well.
Steve V., Saskatchewan

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Raising the bar on avalanche awareness is only one of the things you do for the snowmobiling community. Don’t forget to mention the work you did last year with the schools.
Louis Champagne, Calgary, AB

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Your presentations are easy to listen to. Your explanations are very clear. Even school age children enjoy your presentations and get alot out of them (when you do the Sled Smart) program. You tell things how they are. After listening to your presentations one really wants to make sure you are prepared and wear avalanche equipment at all times. We have listened to your presentations more than once and each time they are different but the message is the same – ride safe!!
Good luck
Lorraine P., Red Deer, AB

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A friend of mine contacted Zac’s Tracs about possibly teaching an avalanche awareness course to our prairie riding buddies who frequently visit the big hills and fluffy snow of B.C. In the past we had a lot of trouble getting most of our buddies to even read the Sledding in Avalanche Terrain booklet! Over the course of about a month, I was in contact with Lori several times a week getting information from her and trying to recruit fellow snowmobilers from our big flat Regina area. Lori’s enthusiasm and energy were obvious and it was fun to get to know her and learn from her. We all benefited from her dedication to the cause of promoting safe and fun snowmobiling. I believe we all enjoyed the course Zac’s Tracs provided and hopefully we will all be a bit safer and more aware because of it.
Jump block
Our field day was a fun snowmobiling outing and we all learned a lot about snow and our equipment. Lori’s sense of humour and energy were always present and I consider her a friend after only knowing her for a short time. She is a big asset to our snowmobiling community. Keep up the good work Lori and good luck in the future.
Nelson Lanaway, Regina, SK

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I wish you luck and truly believe Zac’s Tracs deserves this Award. Very exciting to be considered for an award at a National Level. Your enthusiasm & dedication helps sledders increase their knowledge, becoming better able to enjoy the sport yet keep safety in mind.
For me, I also really appreciate that you are an intelligent, strong woman and an excellent role model for other women who may be intimidated by what they perceive as a male dominated sport. I think that it is when women like you and I are out riding safely and smartly, and every bit as capably as many of the men out on the mountains that we start to break down some of the barriers and stereotypes, etc. It is also amazing for Keith and I, as I am sure it is for you and your husband, to do something that you both love together, and for you, especially exciting is to create a successful business venture.

Beverly P., Saskatoon, S
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