AIARE 1 – Hut Based Avalanche Course

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

Price per person

$795/person
  • Next Available: Jan 30, 2022 - Feb 01, 2022
    Sold Out
  • Upcoming: Feb 27, 2022 - Mar 01, 2022
    Sell out risk: Sold Out

About this trip

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to complete your AIARE I Avalanche course in this fully immersive, 3-day, 2-night backcountry experience. The Frog Lake area provides epic terrain and beautiful views, with the added bonus of top notch huts with tons of amenities. If you have less than 5 days of backcountry experience, you need to join our Backcountry 1.0 course first. Due to the nature of the Frog Lake terrain and itinerary, there are some movement and touring experience requirements. Please review the preparation section before booking.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    3 Days

This is a comprehensive, entry-level avalanche course designed for those with basic ski/snowboard touring experience. This Private AIARE course will be a 3-day, 2-night trip based at the Frog Lake Huts near Castle Peak. They are top notch European style huts that will be nice and cozy after long days out learning! Learn more about the Frog Lake Huts and ski terrain here.

You must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider for this course and be comfortable on both on and off-piste terrain in a variety of conditions. Here is a good example of intermediate skiers and riders.

Who Can Participate

Advanced intermediate skiers or riders who have taken our Backcountry 1.0 and have spent 5-10 days out touring since, OR those who have 10+ tours under their belt. Participants must be competent on and off-piste in a variety of terrain and snow conditions. This is comparable be being confident on all blue runs and most black diamond runs in the resort (including ungroomed terrain). This video gives a good example of intermediate to advanced skiers and riders.

Course Expectations

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, overnight fees, and hut and food costs.

Learning Outcomes:

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 classroom 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
  1. 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
  1. Trip Planning and Preparation
  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors
  1. Companion Rescue and Equipment

The Huts

The brand new backcountry huts that our friends at  Truckee Donner Land Trust have just built at Frog Lake are a big step up from most other huts in the west, with great amenities and a warm, homey feel. They  have hot and cold running water, flush toilets, propane heat, lights and a commercial grade kitchen, as well as a hutmaster on site. In addition, the nearly 100 year old Eschenbach Stone House has been renovated as a lively gathering spot for guests to meet and socialize. Read more about the huts here.

You can bring your own food to prepare in the very nice kitchen on site. If you would like us to provide the food for your trip and prepare it, there will be a $30 per night fee that will cover dinner and breakfast, and a few snacks (this does not include porter fee, you will help carry the supplies for your group). You should plan to provide your own lunches that will fuel you to perform while out skiing.

Porters will be available for each group at a fee of $300 per porter load into the hut. Max of 44lbs/20kg. Gear must be ready with you on the morning of your trip.

Snowmobile portering may be possible for $300 per load into hut. Snowmobiles must be arranged long in advance, and are not always available. This option allows a much larger capacity (100+lbs), and gear must be ready the afternoon before departure.

*PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE WELL IN ADVANCE TO ARRANGE FOOD AND PORTERS

 

Preparation

  • Prerequisites

    Skiers or riders who have taken our Backcountry 1.0 PLUS 5-10 days of touring experience, or those with 10+ days of individual touring experience are welcome to join.

  • Technical

    Must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider that is competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions. This is comparable to confidence on all blue and most black diamond runs at the resort (including ungroomed terrain).
    Here is an example.

  • Fitness

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

    • Day 1 & 2 — Classroom + In-Field

      The first two days of your course will be used to learn in a classroom with your instructors. After lunch each day, you will practice and observe the lessons that were taught in the morning out in the field. You will spend the evening enjoying dinner and the company of your group in the Frog Lake Huts.

    • Day 3 — In-Field

      The last day is used to put together all the skills learned and practiced in the first few days of your course. You will plan and execute your own ski tour with a small team alongside an instructor.

      • Ski/Splitboard equipment

      • Ski Helmet

        A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old. Recommended: Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet 

      • 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

      • Ski/Splitboard Crampons

        While these are optional, they are strongly recommended by our guides. These will be 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: Dynafit Ski Crampons

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

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

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended:Eddie Bauer BC Duraweave Alpine Pants

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

      • 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 Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

      • 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: Julbo Shield

      • Blue 5-Panel AEX Hat

        The perfect hat for warm days on the move. This hat is a lightweight construction and provides ample ventilation to keep your head cool and your face shaded. Leather patch on the front with our classic Alpenglow Expeditions logo. Simple and stylish. Our summer guide's favorite piece of headwear!

        $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 MAG

      • 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 Slouch Beanie

      • Overnight Gear

      • Sleeping Bag (20°)

        Rated to 20º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Granite Gear Compression Sack is desired. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • Base Camp Boots

        These snow boots are good for wearing around camp and should be comfortable when you slip into them after spending significant time in your mountain boots. Recommended: Sorel Caribou Boots

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • Do I have enough experience for this course?

      The AIARE 1 is a stand alone, introductory avalanche course, however skiers/riders must have our Backcountry 1.0 plus 5-10 tours, OR 10+ days of individual touring experience.

      You must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider that is comfortable on off-piste terrain in variable conditions. 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 or how to use touring equipment.

      Here is a good example of intermediate to advanced skiers and riders. You should be able to ski confidently on all blue runs and most black diamond runs at the resort (including ungroomed).

    • 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.

    • 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.

Dave Nettle

Dave’s love for outdoor challenge, adventure and fun began early in his life with Boy Scout backpacking and mountaineering trips in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1972 he started his lifelong pursuit and joy of rock climbing with his first climbs deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, which remains his favorite mountain range to share and enjoy.

In 1975, at age 17 he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo from Mexico to Canada and the following year hiked the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico, sealing his passion for grand adventure and determination to accomplish what he sets out to do.

Dave’s underlying philosophy of living life fully and approaching the world of adventure travel and alpinism with “confident uncertainty” has led him to the mountain ranges of the world where his climbing accomplishments are just a part of what he values.  At the heart and soul of it all is the experience of interacting with, and learning from, the people, places and cultures along the way and sharing the challenge and beauty of wilderness with friends.

In addition to five decades of rock and alpine climbing which have included new routes and significant ascents throughout North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, Dave is an accomplished ski mountaineer who hangs up his climbing shoes each winter in favor of backcountry alpine ski touring and hut to hut ski tours in the European Alps.

Dave brings 15 years of technical Rope Access and Rescue Training experience to the team.  He has helped pioneer the use of Rope Access methods to complement traditional mountaineering based techniques to improve the safety and efficiency of ski lift, gondola, high angle and crevasse rescue procedures.  He has been a SPRAT certified Rope Access Level 3 Technician since 2002.

His blend of outdoor skills, professionalism and sense of humor make for memorable trips, not to mention epic slide show presentations which he loves to share with others. Dave is the founder of a free community slideshow series in the Tahoe area that has been ongoing since 1988 and continues to inform, entertain and inspire everyone to seek out and accomplish their dreams and goals. You can learn more about the Alpenglow Winter Film Series here.

Guide Certifications
  • IRATA

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 an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

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

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

Tim Mincey

A native of Chicago, Tim grew up barely knowing that mountains existed, much less that you could climb or ski them for fun. But as an engineering student at Stanford, he managed to fall in love with snowboarding, and after college he made the move to Tahoe to ride full-time as a snowboard instructor. Once in Tahoe, Tim couldn’t wait to dive into backcountry splitboarding and rock climbing, and he is perpetually trying to make up for his late start in the mountains by climbing and snowboarding as much as possible. Tim has guided throughout California since 2011, and has a hard time imagining that he’ll ever tire of showing off the beauty of the Sierra Nevada.

He is an AMGA Certified Rock and Splitboard Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, and Single Pitch Instructor, as well as an AIARE Course Leader and AASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his wife, Beth, their daughter, Cora, and their Mini Australian Shepherd, Pika.

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

Rich Meyer

Rich has been guiding professionally for over twenty years.  His work has varied from single day backcountry ski tours in Tahoe, to ski expeditions from Alaska to Antarctica.  Rich has been lucky enough to guide, travel, ski, and summit peaks in places such as:  Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Alaska, and Antarctica.  As well as scores of Mt. Shasta & Sierra Nevada summits. Promoting the human powered outdoor experience is a big part of Rich’s passion and work, both locally and nationally.  He feels strongly that protecting our natural environment and educating skiers and climbers about our winter wild places has to be a priority.

Jules Hanna

If you are looking for an AMGA Splitboard guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.

In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Isaac Laredo

Isaac found his appreciation for the outdoors growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Isaac attended Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe where his appreciation  evolved into a lifelong passion. The scenery, accessibility, and culture of the surrounding mountains captivated Isaac to major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Environmental Science and Outdoor Adventure Leadership at Sierra Nevada College. Here he was inspired by his teachers and peers to facilitate the creation of special moments in the outdoors. As one of his mentors say “special moments happen, we just have to show up for them”. These special moments have been responsible for lots of personal growth for himself and those around him. He has experienced the power of the outdoors first hand and looks forward to life long learning in the mountains through climbing and skiing.
Isaac is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, Pro 1 Avalanche Professional, and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Ali Agee

Growing up just outside Lake Tahoe in Reno, skiing has been keeping Ali motivated her whole life. As she grew older and gained more appreciation for moving through the mountains, whether it be on skis or via long alpine rock routes, the journey toward becoming a ski guide has only been a natural progression.

On this journey, she’s had the opportunity to ski and rock climb in multiple venues including the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Tetons, Japan, Canada, and beyond.

Ali has experienced firsthand the transformative powers that guided trips can have on someone looking to break through comfort zone barriers. She is passionate about sharing similar soul-filling, life-changing experiences with others.

Ali is currently an AMGA apprentice ski and apprentice alpine guide, certified single pitch instructor, AIARE avalanche instructor, Pro 1 avalanche professional, Wilderness First Responder, mountain biker, and type-two fun seeker living in Truckee, CA.

What others are saying about this trip

Expedition Inquiry Form

  • Have questions about this trip?

    AIARE 1 - Hut Based Avalanche Course

AIARE 1 – Hut Based Avalanche Course

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to complete your AIARE I Avalanche course in this fully immersive, 3-day, 2-night backcountry experience. The Frog Lake area provides epic terrain and beautiful views, with the added bonus of top notch huts with tons of amenities. If you have less than 5 days of backcountry experience, you need to join our Backcountry 1.0 course first. Due to the nature of the Frog Lake terrain and itinerary, there are some movement and touring experience requirements. Please review the preparation section before booking.