AIARE 1 for Snowshoers/Skiers 3 Day - Bellingham - 2024

Avalanche Safety Course

AIARE 1 Avalanche Class

AIARE Level 1 avalanche safety course, open to all.

This is an AIARE certified level 1 avalanche course consisting of a 3-day field trip in the backcountry adjacent to the Mt Baker ski area. Lodging cost is not included in the registration fee (see below for lodging information). The online lectures and field trip dates are as follows: 

  • Pre-course work: Due  Jan 18th, 5:00pm (4-8 hrs self-paced online coursework)
  • Field Trip: Fri, Jan 19 - Sun, Jan 21, 8am - 4pm Mt Baker Ski Area/Baker Lodge

This course introduces students to terminology, terrain identification.  Students will learn about factors that contribute to increasing or decreasing risk such as weather, snowpack, human error and terrain. Students at this level are given techniques to mitigate risk and avoid avalanches through reading terrain, trip planning, snowpack evaluation, understanding avalanche forecasts, travel techniques and team decision making. 


The class is oriented toward demonstrating practical ways to make safe decisions when traveling in avalanche terrain. The planning and decision making tools introduced in this course are just as applicable to managing all sorts of mountaineering hazards as they are to safety in avalanche terrain. Companion rescue methods are also covered in this class. 

I can't think of one moment in the course which was not a learning experience. I especially liked how my instructors challenged us to judge terrain and make choices at the field trip, and then asked us to reflect on those decisions.

The entirety of the field trip will be completed in the backcountry adjacent to the Mt Baker Ski Area. The course registration fee does not include lodging (see below for lodging information).  The field trip starts promptly at 8am each morning and weather can make an early morning arrival challenging. The field days will end at 4pm, so returning to the Seattle area is possible but will make for a long day and is not recommended.


Students are encouraged but not required to stay at the Mount Baker Lodge. A registration link for signing up to stay at the lodge will be provided to all registered student. If you would prefer not to stay at lodge you will be responsible for arriving to the venue and securing parking which can be challenging.

COVID Policy:

All students and instructors are encouraged to be vaccinated against covid-19 and take appropriate safety measures and self-care.


In mid-December after registration closes, registered students will receive a welcome email with additional information about the pre-coursework material and links to student manuals and other materials to help prepare for the class.  


During the open registration period, students can cancel their registration and receive a refund of their course fee minus a $50 cancellation fee. After registration closes, students will receive no refunds for cancellations. Pre-course work and attendance at all classes are required. We will attempt to provide one make-up field day for anyone who could not attend part or all of the field trips due to illness.


To learn more about the AIARE approach to avalanche education used by the Mountaineers, visit the AIARE website.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

During the two day field trip students will need the following equipment:

  • Either backcountry skis / splitboard with skins, or snowshoes. 
  • A metal shovel designed for avalanche rescue (no plastic shovels)
  • A full length avalanche probe (Minimum length of 240cm / Recommended length of 280cm)
  • An avalanche beacon (2 or 3 antenna beacons are required)
  • Clothes suitable both for standing around and getting exercise outdoors all day in possibly cold, windy, snowy or even rainy conditions. 
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.