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AIARE 1 Avalanche Course

3 Days in California, Lake Tahoe / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$525
  • Next Available: Nov 27, 2020 - Nov 29, 2020
  • Upcoming: Dec 04, 2020 - Dec 06, 2020
  • Dec 11, 2020 - Dec 13, 2020
  • Dec 21, 2020 - Dec 23, 2020
  • Dec 28, 2020 - Dec 30, 2020
  • Jan 02, 2021 - Jan 04, 2021
  • Jan 08, 2021 - Jan 10, 2021
  • Jan 16, 2021 - Jan 18, 2021
  • Jan 29, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
  • Feb 05, 2021 - Feb 07, 2021
  • Feb 10, 2021 - Feb 12, 2021
  • Feb 13, 2021 - Feb 15, 2021
  • Feb 19, 2021 - Feb 21, 2021
  • Feb 22, 2021 - Feb 24, 2021
  • Mar 05, 2021 - Mar 07, 2021
  • Mar 12, 2021 - Mar 14, 2021
  • Mar 19, 2021 - Mar 21, 2021
  • Mar 26, 2021 - Mar 28, 2021
  • Apr 02, 2021 - Apr 04, 2021

About this trip

UPDATE: In light of community health advisories from various government agencies, Alpenglow Expeditions is pausing all Tahoe programs through the end of April, at which point we will reassess the situation. Please call the office with any questions (877-873-5376) or book online for future tours by using the link below.   This is a comprehensive, entry-level avalanche course designed for those with basic ski/snowboard touring experience. There are no other prerequisites, although, if you have never backcountry skied before, you may find it helpful to join an Intro to Backcountry day first. This is a great course to take before heading out into the backcountry.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    3 Days

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 all necessary classroom supplies and the AIARE field book. These items are often not included in the course price, but we don’t like any hidden costs.

Location:

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 take place at our headquarters in the beautiful Olympic Valley, California.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the AIARE 1 course the student should be able to:

  • Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Recognize avalanche terrain.
  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue.
  • Instructional sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction) :

1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena

  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering

2. 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

3. Trip Planning and Preparation

  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors

4. Companion Rescue and Equipment

Want more info? Check out this interview with AIARE instructor Ben Weaver.

Alpenglow Expeditions operates under a special use permit from the Tahoe, Inyo and Eldorado National Forests. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

Preparation

  • Fitness

    Excellent physical fitness is required. Skiers must be able to hike for many hours at a time while carrying a pack.

  • Technical Experience

    Skiers must be competent resort skiers able to link turns in a variety of terrain and snow conditions.

    • Day 1 — Lecture & Skills

      Lecture in the morning followed by hands on practice in the afternoon.

    • Day 2 — Lecture & Skills

      Lecture in the morning followed by observation tour in the afternoon.

    • Day 3 — Skills day in the field

      Today the course wraps up with a full day in the field practicing all the concepts learned over the previous 2 days.

      • Ski/Splitboard Equipment

      • 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: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis Recommended Bindings: Dynafit Speed Radical

      • 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! Recommended: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro or Zero G Tour Scout

      • Splitboard

        A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions. Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard

      • Splitboard Bindings

        Splitboard bindings are required for uphill travel. Be sure to adjust the straps to your boots before using. Recommended: Spark R&D Arc Bindings

      • Snowboard Boots

        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

      • Skins

        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 Ascension Nylon STS Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

        Adjustable ski poles with powder baskets. Recommended: Black Diamond Expedition 2 or Expedition 3 Poles

      • Backcountry Touring Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 30 and 40 liters and is designed to carry skis or a splitboard. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Recommended: Black Diamond Cirque 35 or 45 Pack

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Shovel

        A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended. Recommended: Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel

      • Probe

        A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm. Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Tour Probe 280

      • Apparel

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Lightweight Top

        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. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution IR 1/4 Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayer Pants

      • Heavyweight Gloves

        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 altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Lightweight 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: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Ski Socks

        Your everyday ski sock, good for ski tours and day hikes. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Merino Wool Ski Socks

      • Accessories

      • Sunglasses

        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: Revoi Guide II

      • Hat

        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 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Goggles

        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: Smith I/O

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Beanie

    • What is your cancellation policy?

      When you book a course with Alpenglow Expeditions you are agreeing to our cancellation policy. Please realize that if your travel does not go according to plan in any way and for any reason, we are unable to provide credits or refunds outside of what is described below. We strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect your activity purchase against unforeseeable circumstances.

      If you cancel for any reason prior to 30 days before the course start, you may rebook a later date for 100% credit, subject to availability, or you may receive a refund minus a 5% cancellation fee. If you cancel between 14 and 30 days prior to the course start, you may reschedule, subject to availability. Between 14 and 30 days there are no refunds. If you cancel inside of 14 days from the course start, there are no refunds or reschedules available. In light of this, Alpenglow strongly recommends all guests purchase trip insurance to protect against any unforeseen circumstances. This includes but is not limited to:

      -Injury/illness
      -Weather, Mountain and Travel Conditions
      -Personal scheduling changes

      To review our entire policy, please click here.

    • Would you consider organizing a custom AIARE 1 Avalanche course for me and my group?

      Absolutely. We love putting together custom courses. Call or email us to begin planning your custom AIARE 1 Avalanche course today.

    • Do I have enough experience for this course?

      The AIARE 1 is a stand alone, introductory avalanche course. No prior education is required. You must be an intermediate skier or rider to join us in the backcountry, however. This is for the safety and enjoyment of everyone, and will allow students to focus on the material and techniques being presented, and not on their own skiing or riding.

    • I always ski with experienced friends. Should I still take this course?

      We believe that each individual makes up the team, not its strongest members. With that in mind, it is imperative that every member of a touring party has basic avalanche training. The level 1 course is very broad in scope- from avalanche rescue training to fundamentals of avalanche problems, it covers a lot of very useful material.

    • Is lunch included on the trip?

      Lunch is not included on the trip. We recommend packing a sack lunch and plenty of water.

    • What gear should I bring?

      In general, your gear for the day will be very similar to a day of skiing in the resort, but here are a few key pieces that are unique to the backcountry and crucial for the day –

      A hat and pair of sunglasses (These come in handy on the hike up)

      Sunscreen

      Water and snacks (Our guides recommend between 1-2L of water depending on your intake)

      Lighter, more breathable layer options than a typical resort layering system. An additional light pair of gloves is preferred for uphill travel

      Ski poles with powder baskets, or a pair of collapsable poles for splitboarding. (We have these available at no extra charge if you need them)

      A backpack, and any avalanche rescue gear you may own. (Our guides recommend packs around 20-30L)

      **Please give us a call if you have any questions about what to bring, or if your gear will be appropriate for the day.

    • I need to rent gear, what information should I provide in advance?

      We have an excellent selection of backcountry ski gear available to rent. We offer top of the line equipment from Blizzard Skis, Technica Boots, Jones Snowboards, and Black Diamond. Many of our guides use the same gear available in our demo fleet. If you have any gear or sizing questions, we would be more than happy to get you situated to ensure you get the most out of your day in the mountains.

      A/T Skis

      We can offer touring specific skis from Blizzard, a personal favorite for our mountain guides. We have skis available for both females and males. We have sizes available in 164cm,  171cm, 178cm, and 185cm.

      Splitboards

      We have Jones Splitboards available to rent in sizes 145cm, 152cm, 160cm, 161cm, 162cm, and 164cm) Please let us know your stance/binding angle preferences if you are planning to rent a splitboard setup.

      A/T Ski Boots

      Alpine touring ski boots from Technica Boots are available to rent. Sizes range from 23.5 to 29.5 in both genders.

    • I don’t have any avalanche gear- can I still sign up?

      Avalanche gear is mandatory for all peoples traveling in alpine terrain. If you do not already own gear, we offer a beacon, shovel, probe setup available to rent for $25/day.

    • Is it safe?

      While no outdoor adventure can be completely free of risk without losing the essence of the activity, hiring a professional guide is a fantastic way to manage and mitigate this risk. Activities like skiing and climbing have what we call “inherent risk”, which can be defined as a risk that cannot be completely mitigated by a professional. That is part of playing in the mountains, we encourage you to reach out to the office if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Zeb Blais

From bushwhacking miles of Manzanita in ski boots to traversing huge glaciers in exotic ranges, adventure draws Zeb in. Originally from Vermont, Zeb has been hooked on big mountains since his first ski tour in Jackson Hole and has pursued skiing, climbing and exploring ever since. Zeb has climbed and guided in the Himalaya, Alaska, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Asia among others and he’s working hard to keep that list growing. Working as a mountain guide allows Zeb to share his passion for human powered movement in the mountains and to pass along what he’s learned along the way.

Zeb has successfully guided Mt Everest [29,029′], Mt Cho Oyu [26,906′] including a ski descent from the summit, Lobuche East [20,075′],  and four expeditions on Denali [20,320’], including a ski descent from the summit. He has completed 64 summits of Mount Rainier [14,410’]. Additional credentials include 12 summits of Mount Shasta [14,179’]; 5 summits of Mount Shuksan [9,100’]; 3 summits via Mount Baker [10,678’], including one ski descent from the summit, and two ski descents via the North Ridge; 2 summits of Aconcagua [22,841’]; 1 summit of Cotopaxi and 1 summit of Cayabme; 2 summits of Ixtacihuatl in Mexico; 3 summits of Orizaba in Mexico, including a ski descent from the summit; and numerous rock, alpine and ski summits from the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Coast ranges and Rockies.

Zeb is an AMGA Ski Guide and Assistant Rock and Alpine guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is currently an AMGA Ski Guide, Rock Guide, and AIARE course leader. He is working towards becoming an IFMGA mountain guide. He lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

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    AIARE 1 Avalanche Course

AIARE 1 Avalanche Course

UPDATE: In light of community health advisories from various government agencies, Alpenglow Expeditions is pausing all Tahoe programs through the end of April, at which point we will reassess the situation. Please call the office with any questions (877-873-5376) or book online for future tours by using the link below.   This is a comprehensive, entry-level avalanche course designed for those with basic ski/snowboard touring experience. There are no other prerequisites, although, if you have never backcountry skied before, you may find it helpful to join an Intro to Backcountry day first. This is a great course to take before heading out into the backcountry.