A new take on Avalanche Education, we’ve adapted the AIARE framework to a partially-online format to allow for increased field time with our Tahoe guides!
During the 20/21 season, it only made sense to alter our Lake Tahoe avalanche education program. The hybrid online + field days itinerary worked well, and we have decided to keep it as an option for our AIARE 1 courses moving forward. The online portion of this course consists of approximately 8 hours of coursework that can be completed on your own time.
- Digital Learning
The digital component of the AIARE 1 course includes self-paced online learning and a final exam that must be completed before the in-person course. The online learning takes approximately 5-8 hours to complete, depending on your pace.
- Field Day 1
Skills & Techniques
A meet and greet with your group of 6 students and single instructor will be completed outdoors, likely at a trailhead. The day will comprise of an easy tour with stops through the day to work on terrain recognition and rescue skills.
- Field Day 2
Skills & Techniques
The final day of the course builds on the prior day, culminating in a full planning session and execution of a backcountry tour.
A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using.
Recommended: Black Diamond Recon Avalanche X Beacon
Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred.
Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Glidelite Mix STS Climbing Skins
Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Glidelite Mix Splitboard Climbing Skins
These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation.
Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight Wooltech Gloves
A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm.
Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Pro Probe 280
A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended.
Recommended: Black Diamond Evac 7
While ski crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry ski programs, they are required on all of our International Ski Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATK Ski Crampons
A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old.
Recommended: Scott Track Plus Helmet
Ski Touring Bindings
Alpine Touring bindings are designed to allow up-hill travel and down-hill descent. We recommend a lightweight binding with heel risers to assist on steeper terrain.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATK Crest 10 Touring Bindings
Ski Touring Boots
These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains!
Skis w/ Touring Bindings
A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions.
Recommended Skis: Black Diamond Helio Carbon 95 Skis
Recommended Bindings: Black Diamond ATK Crest 10 Bindings
The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they’re comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots!
Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots
A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions.
Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard
While splitboard crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry splitboard programs, they are required on all of our International Splitboard Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Spark R&D Ibex ST Splitboard Crampons
A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems to stay warm in cold, wet conditions.
Recommended: Black Diamond First Light Stretch Hoodie
Internal frame pack that is between 25 and 35 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32L
Ski socks will keep your feet warm and dry during long tours in the mountains.
These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired.
Recommended: Vuarnet Everest Goggles
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. Bring a few pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Mountaineering Sock
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitudes and are needed to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired.
Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Gloves
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
Hard Shell Jacket
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
One of the most professionally acclaimed avalanche safety courses in the entire area!
“This is probably one of the most professionally acclaimed avalanche safety courses in the entire area! I took my Level 1 course and got to be instructed by some very cool, highly experienced professionals in the field. These guys know what it’s about because they have gone on long overnight tours around the world and have been doing this kind of thing for years. I was thankful that they offered a great discount deal for Palisades’ Employees like myself–I couldn’t have done it without it. My props go out to all the staff, mountain guides, and sponsors who share the same values that make this expedition company really stand out from the rest.
The course included 3 days of indoor/outdoor instruction, a professional field book, and the understanding of how to follow the decision making process to make the best choice for the safest route to avoid accidents in the first place–and much more!”