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Student Manual (pdf file) and the use of avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel.

Does not include:
New AIARE Fieldbook and personal items on the Equipment List.

Operating under Special Use Permit, Tahoe National Forest.

AIARE Avalanche Level 1

AIARE Avalanche Level 1
Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain     3 Day

Our traditional Level 1 is best suited for those who want to be mobile in the backcountry. This course is most effectively taught in 3 full consecutive days, meeting the AIARE 24hr. requirement. It also meets guidelines established by the American Avalanche Association.

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. This can be done using skis, splitboard or snowboard with snowshoes (see prerequisites below). Please familiarize yourself with the following resources as they will help prepare you for the topics discussed in the course.

An AIARE Level 1 Certificate will be awarded upon completion.

Cost: $450

Required: AIARE Fieldbook $20 (Special prepaid price.)
The Student Manual will be provided.

Nov 29-Dec 1, 2019 (Fri-Sun)
Dec 7-9, 2019  (Sat-Mon)
Dec 13-15, 2019  (Fri-Sun)
Dec 20-22, 2019  (Fri-Sun)
Dec 26-28, 2019  (Thurs-Sat)
Dec 27-29, 2019  (Fri-Sun)
Dec 29-31, 2019  (Sun-Tues)
Jan 3-5, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Jan 10-12, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Jan 18-20, 2020  (Sat-Mon - MLK Weekend)
Jan 24-26, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Jan 31-Feb 2, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Feb 7-9, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Feb 15-17, 2020  (Sat-Mon - President's Weekend)
Feb 21-23, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Feb 28-Mar 1, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Mar 6-8, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Mar 13-15, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Mar 20-22, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
Mar 27-29, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
April 3-5, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
April 10-12, 2020  (Fri-Sun)
April 17-19, 2020  (Fri-Sun)

On an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 you will learn about:

Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
Observations and Information Gathering
  • Field observation techniques
  • Bonding tests: rutschblock, compression test
  • Avalanche danger factors “Red Flags”
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale
  • Trip Planning and Preparation
  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors
  • Companion Rescue and Equipment

Classroom vs. Field Time:

Day 1 50% Classroom
50% Field time
Travel Techniques
Observations, Terrain Identification
Companion Rescue
Day 2 40% Classroom
60% Field time
Instability Tests
Day 3 20% Classroom
80% Field time
Travel in avalanche terrain
Decision Making

Schedule may vary due to conditions.

Classroom Location:
Truckee, The Back Country or
Sugar Bowl, Backcountry Adventure Center - (TBA)

Field Time Location:
Top of Donner Pass


The main prerequisite is to be able to travel on the field portions of the course over snow through avalanche terrain and to be familar with your gear. The longest field exercise is about 5-6 hrs. stopping for field sessions and presentations along the way. These field sessions can be done by anyone in good to very good physical condition. You must have experience with backcountry skis or a splitboard/snowboard.

Many students interested in getting into the backcountry logically want to begin their education with an avalanche course. It is possible to do it this way if necessary, if you have at least one full day of touring experience. Avalanche education is a long term process that best begins with basic prerequisite skills, then, after completion of the AIARE L1 course, continues with ongoing learning and gaining experience over time on the snow.

ASI recommends previous backcountry travel experience found on courses such as:

Sugar Bowl Backcountry
Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Intro to Splitboarding
These simple, one-day courses emphasize use of touring equipment, basic travel skills, hazard recognition and avoidance. One of these courses or equivalent experience is a recommended prerequisite to get the most educational value from a thorough ASI AIARE L1 Course.

Questions about this course?

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