During the 2020/2021 season, it only made sense to alter our avalanche education program to help mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19 in an effort to better protect our guests, our staff and our community while continuing to provide what we love; an unparalleled learning experience in the mountains. 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.
By removing the 8+ hours of in-person classroom learning and replacing it with online learning, we’re able to provide an itinerary that works well for a busy person, or those that have concerns about being in a small space with a group of people. We also offer a 3-day in-person course for those looking to spend more time learning alongside an instructor.
The online version of the standard avalanche course curriculum has been carefully crafted by AIARE (American Insitute of Avalanche Research and Education) with the intention of maintaining the same learning outcomes while completely eliminating the need to spend extended periods of time in a confined classroom. We’re excited to unveil this new itinerary as we lead the way in innovative mountain guiding techniques designed to step into the 21st century while spending as much time outside as possible.
You must be an intermediate to advanced skier for this course and be comfortable on ungroomed terrain, with 5-10 days of ski touring/splitboarding experience. Here is a good example of intermediate skiers and riders.
Who Can Participate
Those joining this course should be Intermediate and Advanced skiers or riders who have taken our Backcountry 1.o course or have had 5-10 days in the backcountry. Skiers and riders must be competent in a variety of terrain and snow conditions. Skiers and riders must be able to link turns on ungroomed runs while maintaining control. This is comparable to skiing ungroomed black diamond terrain confidently. This video will give a good example of intermediate to advanced skiers and riders.
Skiers or riders 12-16 years old can join us with a parent. 16 years and over are able to join without accompaniment.
Students can expect to develop a good foundation on how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn avalanche rescue techniques.
This is a comprehensive, entry-level avalanche course designed for those with basic ski/snowboard touring experience. There are no other prerequisites. The price includes the AIARE field book.
Operating in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest and the Truckee Donner Land Trust, our outdoor classroom contains some of the best terrain in the region to begin your avalanche education. Classroom sessions will be held completely online.
At the end of the AIARE 1 course the student should be able to:
- 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.
Instructional sessions (24 hours including both digital and field instruction)
- Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
- Types and characteristics of avalanches
- Avalanche motion
- Size classification
- The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
- Observations and Information Gathering
- Field observation techniques
- Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test, extended column test
- Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
- Observation checklist
- Avalanche danger scale
- Trip Planning and Preparation
- Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
- Route finding and travel techniques
- Decision making and Human Factors
- Companion Rescue and Equipment
Want more info? Check out this interview with AIARE instructor Ben Weaver.