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Avalanche Safety & Backcountry Ski Courses

Instruction in Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding, Ski Mountaineering, and Avalanche Science

For as much as eight months of the year, a pair of skis or a snowboard is the tool of choice for mountaineers. Winter conditions, however, require specialized skills, knowledge, and practices. The classes listed here are designed to take you from on-piste skier or snowboarder to serious winter explorer. American Alpine Institute offers the complete, widely accepted AIARE Avalanche curriculum, newly updated for 2017 with courses for both recreational winter travelers and mountain professionals.

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Skiing & Avalanche Training

Instruction in Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding, Ski Mountaineering, and Avalanche Science

For much of the year, skis, split-board snowboards, and snowshoes are the tools of choice for mountaineers. Winter conditions, however, require specialized skills, knowledge, and practices. The classes listed here are designed to take you from on-piste skier or snowboarder to serious winter explorer. 

The American Alpine Institute's Avalanche Course instructors are  trained and qualified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and will teach the standardized AIARE curriculum on each course.

There is no nationally recognized curriculum for avalanche education in the United States. AIARE was formed to address this situation. They have developed a standardized curriculum for a complete program of avalanche courses that meets the needs of students at all levels, from recreational to professional and from novice to advanced. AIARE continually updates its curriculm to keep up with the latest research in snow science, wildeness medicine, and risk management.

The New AIARE Curriculum

In 2017, AIARE introduced a major revision to its standard curriculum. In past versions, courses were designed for both recreational and professional winter travelers, with professional level courses simply building upon the material covered in earlier courses. The new, redesigned curriculum contains a wealth of new material and has added a second, distinct track for snow safety professionals.

AIARE's introductory Level 1 avalanche course, renamed AIARE Rec 1 Avalanche Course, provides students with the tools, knowledge, and decision making skills necessary to minimize your exposure to risk in avalanche terrain. The first day of this three-day program is in a classroom in a nearby city or town followed by two days in the field.

The new AIARE curriculum places greater emphasis on knowledge and decision making in the entry level courses.  The topic of avalanche rescue is now covered extensively in the new AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course, a 1-day course devoted exclusively to rescue skills.

The AIARE Rec 2 Course is also new for the 2017-2018 season. The Rec 2 Course builds on the AIARE 1 Decision Making Framework and the hazard management model and gives you the skills to evaluate critical hazard assessment factors.

AIARE Curriculum Transition

The Rec 2 course is a 3-day (24-hour) course that teaches existing backcountry travelers decision making skills to deal with more complex situations that they might encounter while in avalanche terrain. It might be just that you are traveling in more complicated terrain, or maybe you are the leader of a group of other recrationalists, or maybe you need to build a tour plan but you don't have access to an avalanche forecast or other resources. You'll learn techniques to handle each of these situations, plus others, and will improve your overall decision making skills.

The AIARE Pro 1 Course is a new 5-day, pass/fail course designed to train and certify workers new to the avalanche and snow safety industry (educators, patrollers, guides, forecasters). We will cover skills essential to the workplace including conducting weather, snow and avalanche observations, making an assessment of basic hazard and risk factors, participation in team meetings, succinctly communicating observations in the field, and applying basic safe travel protocols in avalanche terrain.

The AIARE Pro 2 Course, formerly the AIARE Level 3, is a 6-day course and exam that requires students to travel safely and efficiently in avalanche terrain. Field days will include travel on rugged terrain up to and exceeding 30 degrees, trail breaking, and 8 hours of travel carrying a day pack with rescue equipment and clothing.

Please look through the listings on this page to learn more about your desired course.

 

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