fbpx

South Lake Tahoe AIARE Avalanche Rescue

1 Day in South Lake Tahoe, California / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$275 Mid-Week, $325 Weekend

About this trip

This one day course in South Lake Tahoe is designed to keep backcountry travelers up to date on best practices and gear for avalanche rescue. Suitable for both new and more experienced backcountry skiers and riders, this course will keep you and your friends ready for the unthinkable. Please see the preparation section before reserving your spot.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    1 Day

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2 and Pro 1 courses. We recommend that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue Course at least every other year.

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.

 

Student learning outcomes

At the end of the Avalanche Rescue course the student should be able to:

  • Describe what to do in the event of an avalanche incident.
  • Identify and be able to use gear necessary for avalanche rescue.
  • Set up a realistic scenario in order to practice an avalanche rescue response.
  • Improve their response skills and times during and after the course with feedback from instructors and peers.
  • Develop a plan for continued practice.

Students will learn how to set up a quick, efficient rescue scenario to maintain skills after the course.

Students who have previously taken an AIARE 1 or an Avalanche Rescue Course will find value in having a professional help them set up a realistic scenario, practice skills in a realistic setting, receive feedback from an instructor, keep up with current best practices, and have an opportunity to practice advanced rescue skills.

Who Should Take this Course

Skiers and riders joining this course must be advanced intermediate skiers or riders who have taken our Backcountry 1.0 course or have had 5-10 days in the backcountry.  Skiers and riders must be competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions. This is comparable to skiing confidently on all blue runs and most black runs in the resort (including ungroomed terrain). 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.

Topics covered

Personal protective and avalanche rescue equipment

  • Identify and familiarize students with winter personal protective, avalanche rescue, and self-evacuation equipment and their proper use
  • Demonstrate and practice routines to check gear’s function

Demonstrate avalanche rescue

  • Introduce Avalanche Rescue Quick Reference tool and apply it to a scenario
  • Breakdown and practice individuals skills of avalanche rescue: assessing the scene and taking leadership, using a transceiver, using a probe, and shoveling

Single burial scenarios

  • Learn to set up effective scenarios for practice
  • Integrate individual skills into a rescue scenario

Patient considerations and evacuation

  • Identify potential patient care considerations resulting from avalanche burial or involvement
  • Name equipment for self-evacuation and communication to outside resources
  • Describe considerations when interfacing with Search and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services

Scenario practice and feedback

  • Integrate skills and receive feedback on rescue response from a professional

Advanced topics – Covered depending on student need and interest

  • Employ probing on a line with a partner to reduce search times and need for bracketing.
  • Apply foundational skills to multiple victim scenarios without close proximity burials.
  • Recognize challenges associated with deep burials.
  • Employ repeatable method (Micro-strip or 3-circle) for locating close-proximity multiple burials

Preparation

  • Fitness

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

  • Technical Experience

    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.

  • Prerequisites

    Backcountry 1.0 course, or 5-10 days of touring experience.

    • Morning — Meet & Greet

      Meet your guide and go over the days goals

    • Rest of Day — Field Work

      After a short meet and greet, your team will move into the field and work on the rescue skills you came for.

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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

      • Shovel

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

      • Avalanche Transceiver

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

      • Probe

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

      • Backpack 25-35L

        Internal frame pack that is between 25 and 35 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 35L Pack

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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 Guide Midweight Baselayer Pants

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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

      • 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
      • 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

      • 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

      • Two 1L Nalgene Bottles

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

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • Can I customize a course for my group?

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

    • Do I have enough experience for this course?

      The AIARE rescue course is a stand alone, introductory avalanche course. You must be an advanced intermediate skier or rider to join us in the backcountry, however, and 5+ days of touring experience or Backcountry 1.0.

      You should be competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions and be confident on all blue runs and most black diamond runs at the resort (including ungroomed terrain).  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/riding or proper use of their equipment. Here is a good example of intermediate to advanced skiers and riders.

    • 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 rescue training. This course focuses specifically on the rescue aspect of avalanche awareness.

    • 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.

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

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.

Rich is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

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

Sam Kieckhefer

Born and raised in Northern California, Sam began exploring the Sierra and developed a love for the mountains at a young age. He started backcountry skiing in 2010, and found his way up Mt. Shasta on only his second ski tour ever. After years of gaining experience, he started guiding in 2019 and hasn’t looked back. Sam guides full time in the winter around Tahoe as he continues to work towards his AMGA Ski Guide certification. Sam also teaches both recreational and professional avalanche courses with the American Avalanche Institute in the Tetons.

Sam is an AMGA Apprentice Ski and Alpine Guide, and AIARE Avalanche Course Instructor. He lives on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe with his partner Susie.

Guide Certifications
  • AIARE instructor

Sydney Paez Duncan

Skiing is just part of life growing up in Colorado, so naturally, Sydney has been in love with skiing since she was 3-years-old. At 18 she started her guiding career as a raft guide and became enamored with working in the outdoors.  For years she honed her backcountry skiing skills in France, Idaho, Colorado, and Tahoe, and she is so happy to be able to share her love for human-powered turns with others.  Sydney has worked at Squaw Valley on Ski Patrol for 4 seasons and guiding was a natural progression.  Recently, she was accepted to the AMGA’s Ski Guide track and she is on the path to becoming a certified Ski Guide. Once the skiing dries up in the summers, you can find Sydney guiding trips in the Cascades.

Sydney is an AMGA Assistant 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, AMGA Apprentice Ski and Rock Guide, Wilderness First Responder, and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Ben Weaver

Ben comes to guiding after being a professional ski patroller for several years. Three of those seasons were spent working as part of the snow safety department at Mt. Hood Meadows.  Ben is now in his fourth winter season with Alpenglow Expeditions here in Squaw Valley.   He is a professional member of the AMGA, has his AIARE level 3 certification and is also an AIARE Course Leader. After successful completion of the Aspirant ski course/exam he is an AMGA Assistant ski guide and will be participating in the AMGA Alpine Guide Course later this spring.  Ben has spent three spring climbing seasons in Alaska volunteering with the National Park Service climbing rangers on Denali.   He is a Board Member of the Denali Rescue Volunteers organization and will be back on Denali this coming May.  He has skied in the Western US, Alaska, Canada, and two seasons in Chamonix & La Grave.   Ben has a Master’s Degree in Anesthesia and he works as a CRNA in the summer.  Ben lives here in the Tahoe area with his lovely wife Katie and their two dogs, Roscoe & Murdock.

Ben is an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide.

What others are saying about this trip

Expedition Inquiry Form

  • Have questions about this trip?

    South Lake Tahoe AIARE Avalanche Rescue

South Lake Tahoe AIARE Avalanche Rescue

This one day course in South Lake Tahoe is designed to keep backcountry travelers up to date on best practices and gear for avalanche rescue. Suitable for both new and more experienced backcountry skiers and riders, this course will keep you and your friends ready for the unthinkable. Please see the preparation section before reserving your spot.