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.
* We will be requiring a COVID vaccination record OR negative COVID test, provided by us, at the trailhead on the first morning of your trip. *
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.
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.
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) :
- 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
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.
Breakfasts, dinners, and a few appetizers will be provided and prepared by your guide. You should plan to provide your own lunches that will fuel you to perform while out skiing. You may alternatively bring your own food to prepare in the very nice kitchen on site.
Porters are included for each group and can carry a max of 44lbs/20kg. Gear must be ready with you on the morning of your trip. We will help organize the splitting of porters for an open enrollment group.
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.