AIARE 1 Avalanche Course for Skiers and Splitboarders

Avalanche Safety Course

AIARE 1 Avalanche Course for Skiers and Splitboarders

AIARE 1 is an entry level course which teaches students to identify potential avalanche hazards, create a plan for where to go in response to the hazard (PLAN), manage hazards when in the terrain (RIDE), and learn from that experience (DEBRIEF). Graduates can expect to gain the skills to be an active participant in a mentored group.

Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain

This course introduces skiers and splitboarders to the avalanche phenomena, the types and characteristics of avalanches, and identification and planning of safe routes/travel in avalanche terrain. The course has a major focus on developing solid group communication skills and recognizing and facilitating group dynamics to manage risk. You will also learn how to respond in an avalanche emergency using your avalanche beacon, rescue tools, and techniques to locate victims of an avalanche.

During the four evening Zoom sessions (7:00-9:00pm) we meet in small groups to practice using tools and strategies to manage risk and to recognize the importance of human factors. Sessions include trip-planning scenarios using the AIARE field book, AIARE decision-making framework, NWAC forecasting, and digital mapping to plan and execute a trip in Pacific Northwest terrain.

The weekend field trip in the Snoqualmie backcountry starts at 8:00am and finishes at 4:00pm each day. Students practice Companion Rescue skills on Saturday before traveling into avalanche terrain on Sunday. Students will plan, execute, and debrief their Sunday trip using the tools and strategies they have practiced in the small groups.  You will have the opportunity to put into action all that you have learned using the AIARE decision making process with your AIARE certified instructor 

This course is for travel on skis and splitboards only. All participants in this course should have good over-snow ability on skis or splitboard as the field trip involves travel in small groups (6:1 student-instructor ratio) in varying snow-covered terrain. Students will be asked to fill out a skills and fitness questionnaire for placement in a small group with others of similar skills, fitness, and equipment.

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  • Plan and prepare for mentored travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Recognize avalanche terrain.
  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue.

Course Schedule

  • Pre-Course online learning: To be completed before the first lecture. Link will be available in December.
  • Lectures: 4 weekday evening lectures, 7:00pm to 9:00pm conducted via Zoom (1/9, 1/11, 1/16, and 1/18)
  • Field Trip: Sat 1/20 - Sun 1/21 at Snoqualmie Pass, 8:00am to 4:00pm both days. Lodging not provided.

Note: You must attend all lectures and both field trip days to receive credit for this course.

Course Fee:  Member: $460  Non-Members: $550

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment
  • Either backcountry skis OR splitboard
  • Skins which fit your skis/splitboard
  • A metal shovel designed for avalanche rescue (no plastic shovels)
  • A full length avalanche probe (Minimum length of  270cm)
  • An avalanche beacon (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
  • Winter 10 Essentials
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.