The AIARE 1 is a 3-day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management.

Click here to see the dates for upcoming courses.

The course is designed to give students a basic understanding of why avalanches occur and to develop a framework for making decisions while traveling in avalanche terrain. Additionally the course provides instruction in beacon use and companion rescue, should an avalanche occur.

Lecture Sessions Topics Include:

  • Snowpack
  • Avalanche Phenomenon
  • Terrain Analysis
  • Stability Evaluation
  • Avalanche Hazard Ratings
  • Human Factors and Risk Assessment
  • Decision Making
Sample Itinerary

Day 1: This is an afternoon/evening session and involves instructor and group introductions, followed by and overview of avalanche types and characteristics. We will introduce our first case study as we analyze actual avalanche incidents. This evening session provides the basic knowledge needed to intelligently discuss avalanche phenomena on day 2

Day 2: This day will involve a combination of indoor and outdoor training. The day generally starts with a discussion of terrain features and then moves on to additional case studies. In the afternoon we get outside to introduce beacons and companion rescue. The day ends with a route planning session as we prepare for our final day, a full day in the mountains.

Day 3: During the day we focus on appropriate route selection, features of the snowpack, and terrain identification. We end the day with a mock rescue scenario and debrief.

Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE 2 course.

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. There are no other prerequisites.

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

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

Want to join a AIARE Level 1 class? Take a look at our training calendar