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Snowshoeing & Avalanche Safety Course

Winter Travel: Practicing Terrain Choices & Rescue Drills

This course is set up for snowshoers only and those who are used to their winter gear, and traveling on beginner & basic snowshoeing trips on a powder day at minimum.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.
NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic and the rise of variants of the COVID-19 virus we will evaluate the restrictions closer to the course dates and modify the course as needed for the safety of our students and instructors.  

THIS COURSE HELPS YOU TO actively participate in the decision-making process on your winter trips and also practice avalanche rescue drills

prerequisite: MUst have actively participated in the 'WINTER TRAVEL: trip planning' course or display the skills taught in that course (elaborate more on your experience in the application form).


  • Before each field trip, maps with tentative routes will be provided, about 5 days in advance. The participants will plan their trip using their skills learned in the "Winter Travel: Trip Planning" course.
  • On the morning of the trip, the group will come together and discuss the plan for the day, check their gear, and start traveling.
    • The morning part of the trip will include practicing rescue drills.
    • The afternoon part of the trip will include traveling in the backcountry, observing snow and route conditions, and change the course as needed by discussing the concerns with the group.
    • At the end of the trip, the group will get together to debrief the actions, decisions for the day.

please consider the following before signing up:

  • Click 'request leader's permission' and state your snowshoeing experience.
  • Once approved, register for the course and pay the fees or sign up on a waitlist.
  • Sign up for an available Field Trip.
    This is a full-day small-group Field Trip on a Saturday or Sunday at one of several locations such as Paradise in Rainier National Park, Artist Point near Baker Ski resort.  
  • Also, note that while this is a foundational course, a moderate physical conditioning level is necessary. The field trip involves approximately 4-5 miles of travel round-trip and up to 1200 feet total elevation gain on snowshoes. This is the equivalent of approximately 8-10 miles and up to 2,400 feet elevation gain if wearing hiking boots on the trail.


Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.  

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Field Trip
Paradise Area (winter)
Sat, Jan 29, 2022
Registration closes Feb 3
6 participants
0 instructors
Paradise Area (winter)
Sun, Jan 30, 2022
Registration closes Feb 4
6 participants
0 instructors
Required Equipment

Every person's clothing needs are different. Some people get colder more quickly than others. Remember: NO COTTON.  If you don't have any of this gear, try borrowing it from friends before you spend money.

For  the  field  trip,  you  must  bring  the  Ten  Essentials  and  Clothing  &  Equipment. 

TEN ESSENTIALS: Map  (provided  to  you), compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothing, emergency shelter, headlamp/flashlight, first-aid supplies, fire starter, matches, knife, extra food & water. Sun protection is a must. Snow reflection is highly damaging to eyes; UV damage and sunburns are common if proper protection is not used.


  • Pack  (large  enough  for  all  winter  gear)
  • Snowshoes
  • Ski Poles/Trekking poles with baskets
  • Sturdy, lug-soled, waterproofed boots    
  • Clothing Layers (no cotton)


  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Metal Shovel
  • Avalanche Probe

Inner  Layer:

  • Wicking Liner socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Synthetic Warm Underwear, top & bottom, 2 sets (one set worn, other set carried)
  • Liner gloves,  (+extra set in pack)

Insulating  Layer:

  • Outer socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Pants, synthetic fleece or wool. Soft-shell or sturdy hiking pants suffice for many.
  • Shirt or sweater, synthetic fleece or wool
  • Mittens or gloves, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)

Protective  Layer:

  • Rain parka with hood – waterproof & breathable preferred; remember, coated nylon doesn’t breathe and traps moisture under the clothing.
  • Rain pants – waterproof & breathable preferred to avoid trapped moisture.
  • Long gaiters. Be sure they fit your boots correctly so that snow doesn’t crawl underneath. GoreTex or insulated gaiters are not necessary.
  • Hats (one for warmth; one for sun protection).
  • Wind jacket (which may be your rain parka). A fleece or wind stopper vest is also handy if it is warm.
  • Scarf or neck gaiter if you tend to get cold easily.

Additional  Recommended  Equipment/Supplies  for  the  Field  Trip:  

  • Foam sit pad
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Toilet paper, sealable plastic bags, and hand sanitizer
  • Pack cover
  • Dry clothes and shoes in your car for the trip home
  • Garbage bags in your car for wet gear
  • Camera and extra batteries, if desired
Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.