Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1


Updated during the 2017-2018 season, the AIARE Pro 1 curriculum was previously offered by the Institute as the first in the series of American Avalanche Association (A3)-compliant courses for snow safety professionals.

In 2019–2020, the Institute continues to offer an A3-compliant introductory professional level avalanche course from American Avalanche Institute.

Please go to our Avalanche Pro 1 Course page to register.



Following the Pro 1 Course, mountain and snow professionals should progress to the 6-day
AIARE Pro 2 course, which replaces the old AIARE Level 3.

AIARE Curriculum Transition

The Pro 1 course is a Pass/Fail course and is designed to train and certify workers new to the avalanche 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.


These courses are hosted by American Alpine Institute, but administered by AIARE Instructors.

Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1


Student requirements for enrollment in a Pro 1:

  • Completion of an AIARE 1 or AAA recognized Level 1 course for student pursuing the Professional track.
  • Completion of  an AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course or AAA recognized Avalanche Rescue course (available starting in late 2017)
  • One winter season (20 days or more) of relevant experience, demonstrated through one of the following:
    • Prior avalanche work experience or
    • A supervised unpaid work internship in the guiding/avalanche industry, supported by a letter of reference or
    • Winter backcountry travel experience supported by documented trip planning and recorded field observations that contributed to avalanche hazard assessment and personal avalanche risk management or
    • Letter of Recommendation from professional member or
    • AAA Membership, Affiliate or Professional

In addition to the applicant resume AIARE requires the applicant to submit:

  • 3 drafted snow profiles from the current winter
  • 3 days of operational hazard forecast forms (or trip plans using the AIARE field book Plan pages) to the AIARE Pro Program Director. Applications will not be accepted without the documentation

Please have documents ready to upload at the time of registration.

Reading List:

  • AIARE 1 Student Manual
  • AIARE 2 Student Manual/Workbook
  • Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines, Published AAA, 2016 edition (SWAG)
  • The Avalanche Handbook, Dave McLung, 1993 edition

Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1

Course Goals

The course introduces participants to team decision making in the avalanche workplace. It provides essential training for those working or planning to work as a ski patrol on the avalanche control team, or as an assistant heli or cat skiing guide, or snow observer for the local avalanche advisory, or as a highways avalanche technician. Students will participate in daily operation meetings, collecting and analyze data and evidence in the field, effectively assessing and communicating hazard and risk factors, and travel safely through avalanche terrain.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of avalanche formation and release
  • Conduct study plot weather observations. Identify relevant weather trends
  • Conduct a snow profile. Choose a relevant test location and identify important layer and interface characteristics. Document using a snow profile form or digital drafting program
  • Conduct a compression test and identify fracture character
  • Conduct an ECT and PST and identify propensity for crack propagation in the weak layer
  • Observe and record avalanche occurrences. Identify important avalanche hazard factors that relate to a recent or current avalanche occurrence
  • Assess current avalanche hazard factors and describe the avalanche problem and the avalanche danger trend
  • Communicate the avalanche riskStudent Learning Objectives between team members
  • Identify and apply strategies to mitigate bias and other challenges to individual and team decision making
  • Relate the current and forecast avalanche problem to specific slopes and terrain features. As part of a trip plan and in the field, identify both terrain to avoid and terrain with less consequence
  • Identify avalanche paths and describe the terrain characteristics that define the start zone, track, and avalanche run out
  • Travel safely over snow in mountainous terrain

Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1


Course assessment principles adhere to those described in the American Avalanche Association (A3) Professional Avalanche Training Guidelines and Proficiencies for the PRO 1 Bridge Course.

Students are sent a description of the assessment plan and evaluation criteria prior to the course start date. A course mark of 70% is required to pass.

  • Avalanche rescue skills (pass/fail). This skill is evaluated prior to the course during the Avalanche Rescue course. Students are required to produce the certificate as a requirement for enrollment
  • Observation and Recording (50% of course grade). Students are required to submit documented observations for instructor review prior to the course start date. The students will receive some coaching and direction on the submitted field weather and snow profile observations prior to the start of the course and then again on the first day of the course. Weather and snow profile observations and snowpack tests are reviewed on the first day of the course and the evaluation criteria is explained to each student.
  • Hazard and Risk Analysis Forms and Written Exam (50% of course grade). Students receive both the expectation in the pre course package and a request to submit trip plan or hazard forecast forms for review prior to the course start date. Students receive one opportunity to be coached on the course when they complete a hazard and risk analysis form the first day. Pre course reading and assignments are designed to include topics that will be covered on written exam.Students have the right to retest weather plot and snow profile observations, snowpack tests and the written exam, and can appeal their grades.



Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1

Dates & Details


There are no AIARE Pro courses on the current schedule this season. However, we have partnered with the American Avalanche Institute to provide an A3-compliant Pro 1 course and you can find more infomation about that here:  Avalanche Pro 1

A3 (American Avalanche Association) is the governing body that oversees avalanche curriculum in the United States. They set the curriculum standards and certify organizations to provide the coursework and training. Both the American Avalanche Institute and AIARE are certified by A3, and are two of only six organizations that provide Pro 1 courses, and two of only four that provide a Pro 2 certification.

Avalanche Certification - AIARE Pro 1

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