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AIARE Avalanche Courses Go Digital

COVID-19 Brings Changes to AIARE Avalanche Courses

We are pleased to announce a new format for teaching AIARE 1 & AIARE 2 avalanche courses effective upcoming 20/21 winter season. While the majority of time in our winter program is spent in small groups outside, the classroom component of our avalanche courses is a notable exception. With the current state of affairs in regards to COVID-19, as well as the significant uncertainty we face in making plans for the winter, we have decided to alter our avalanche education program to remove the in-person classroom component and move these important lessons online.

An AIARE avalanche course student looks out over fresh powder
Searching for fresh pow during an AIARE 1 field day

Our partners at AIARE (the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) have been extremely helpful to us in attaining this goal. With AIARE’s support, we are designing an online classroom experience that includes both learn as you go digital material  (videos, slideshows, quizzes, etc) as well as live online meetings with the instructor team. This will allow us to deliver the same high-quality education that our guests have come to expect, without the many hours spent inside a classroom and in close contact with other students.

Although the exact itinerary is yet to be finalized, our new AIARE 1 & AIARE 2 avalanche courses will look something like this:


Pre-Course: Learn as You Go

After signing up for a course, all students will receive a confirmation email with a complete course outline. The course begins with a login to an online classroom, where students will be introduced to the fundamental topics of avalanche hazard management. For this portion, students can work through this information at their own pace. With numerous quizzes and other checks for understanding, the foundational ideas that were presented in our traditional, in-person classroom sessions will now be presented and covered digitally.


Pre-Course: Live Online Meeting

A couple of days prior to the field sessions in the evening hours, a live online meeting with the course instructors will be held, introducing the instructors who will then provide a thorough briefing of the field days to come, review important topics, as well as host a Q&A session to ensure the student team is ready to hit the mountains. There will be contingency plans for those unable to attend this meeting.


Field Days: 2 Days Outside

An AIARE avalanche instructor teaching students in the backcountry
An AIARE instructor explains the nuances of shoveling after an avalanche has occurred.

With this new format, we are able to spend  2 complete 8 hour days in the field, which is more continuous field time than the legacy courses offered. The field is where the rubber really meets the road, so to speak. Theories are tested, abstract topics become tangible, and our instructors are truly able to teach the art of avalanche hazard management, all while moving through the incredible terrain of the Lake Tahoe Backcountry.

It’s important to note that even though we are significantly changing how these courses are taught, the learning outcomes remain the same.


AIARE 1 learning outcomes:

-Develop a plan for travel in avalanche terrain.

-Demonstrate the ability to identify avalanche terrain.

-Effectively use the AIARE Risk Management Framework to make terrain choices in a group setting.

-Demonstrate effective companion rescue.


AIARE 2 learning outcomes:

-Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.

-Use and interpret weather, snow, and avalanche observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while in the field.

-Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team that includes facilitating small group discussion, promoting appropriate terrain selection, and utilizing simple risk management strategies.

-Implement a basic forecasting framework that can be used in conjunction with and in the absence of local supporting avalanche information.


Private Courses Available

We understand that some students may wish to take a traditional avalanche course, with the in-person classroom component still present. With this in mind, we will continue to offer these courses for small, private groups, with a maximum of 6 people to allow for adequate physical distancing while inside. These courses are run on a custom basis. Please contact the Alpenglow office for details.

Throughout the process of re-tooling our avalanche education program, we have come to realize that these changes are not only possible but will actually help us serve our students better and assist us in delivering the highest quality education that we can. We look forward to seeing you this winter!

Book your AIARE 1

For information on any of our other expeditions check out our website. For any questions call our office at 877-873-5376 or send us an email We hope to climb with you soon!