The Level 1 Avalanche course is a 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. This three day course is a combination of lectures and fieldwork. We offer it in two different formats:
- Three consecutive days from 8am to 4pm at Alpental (the first day will be mainly a classroom day with intermittent trips outdoors, and 2 field days) or
- Two 3.5-hour evening sessions at Pro Ski and Mountain Service of North Bend (Tuesday and Thursday 6:30pm to 9:30 pm), and two field days in the Snoqualmie Backcountry (Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm).
PLEASE NOTE: THE DATES WITH A 3 DAY RANGE ARE IN THE FRIDAY-SUNDAY FORMAT, THE DATES WITH A 6 DAY RANGE ARE IN OUR TUES AND THURS. EVE CLASSROOM AND WEEKEND FIELD DAY FORMAT.
This course is geared around the backcountry user who does not have any avalanche safety training yet. It is a judgment-building course packed with information. You will be introduced to topics such as mountain weather, different snow packs, tour planning, hazard recognition and evaluation, snow pack analysis, transceiver search and much more.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Plan and prepare for a day in avalanche terrain
• Recognize avalanche terrain
• Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain
• Learn and apply effective companion rescue
This is the first in a series of three courses by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Successful completion of this course will provide you with a Level 1 AIARE certification.
Our instructor pool includes internationally trained and certified mountain guides through the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA)/American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and AIARE instructor trainings.
If you are brand new to both avalanche safety and ski touring, please check out our Intro to Ski Touring Combo course. This adds 3 days onto your Level 1 course (several dates to choose from), and provides you with the skills to gain a lot more out of your avalanche course, and the ability to go explore the backcountry with efficient movement and necessary skills. Look at our course listing to find out more information.
Course Curriculum:Classroom Evening One:
Classroom Evening Two:
- What is AIARE
- Course objectives and goals
- Case study
- Theme of course – Introduction to Decision Making Framework
- Avalanche Types and Characteristics
- Avalanche Terrain
Field Day One:
- Planning and Preparation
- Avalanche forecasts
- Maps and navigation
- Information gathering
- Human factors
- Avalanche Danger Scale
- Observations and Clue Gathering
- Creation of Layers in the Mountain Snowpack
Field Day Two:
- The Human Factor
- Terrain Selection and Travel Technique
- Introduction to companion rescue Intro to transceivers (function check, battery check)
- Single burial
- Active tests
- Demonstration of travel techniques
- All the topics below
- Common errors and human factors
- Terrain identification
- Terrain red flag identification
- Terrain management
Question and answer time
- More Active tests
- Test Profile (snow pit)
- Slope angle, aspect, elevation
- Compression test
- Extended column test
- Companion Rescue - single burial, shoveling techniques, probing techniques
- Rescue scenario
- Course review/debrief
- Course evaluations
Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental.
Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999.
The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.
AIARE LEVEL 1 AVALANCHE CLASSEQUIPMENT LIST AND FAQ’S FAQ'sHow much time will we be spending indoors versus in the field?About two thirds of the time will be spent outside.Where will we meet?For the three day consequtive courses we will meet at the Denny Mountain Lodge at Alpental unless you get notified otherwise. Get there by driving Interstate 90 to the West Summit exit on Snoqualmie Pass. Go left at the stop sign and follow the road to the Main Parking lot of the Alpental ski area. Go across the bridge and take a right into the Lodge. Account for about an hour of driving time from the Seattle area.For the courses with the two evening classes we will meet at Pro Ski Ski and Mountain Service (108 West North Bend Way, North Bend, WA). You will be contacted by the instructors or the office directly regarding the exact meeting time and location.Is there another course that work well in conjunction with the AIARE Level one course?Yes, we believe that the Intro to Ski touring course would work very well. This very application and movement based ski touring course is a great compliment the more principle based AIARE course. This is why we offer a 10% discount for anyone who signs up for both courses. Equipment list:• BASE LAYERo 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweighto 1 Top - midweight or lightweighto Sock Linerso Ski Socks• MID LAYERo Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary• OUTERWEARo Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacketo Schoeller™ Type Pantso Warm Hat - should cover earso Sun Hat - baseball type or visoro Lightweight Gloveso Ski Gloves • PERSONAL GEARo Day Pack – 25 to 40 Literso Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth, hydration systemo Lunch and Snacks - appropriate for a full dayo Sunglasses - adequate for snow travelo Goggleso Sunscreen - SPF >25, waterproofo Lip Balm - SPF 15 • SKI OR SNOWBOARD GEARo Skis or Snowboardo Ski Bootso Ski Poleso Climbing Skins or Snowshoes for uphill travelo Ski Brakes or Removable Ski Leashes • SAFETY GEARo Transceiver - single frequency, 457 kHz onlyo Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferredo Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice • OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate.o Snow Saw - longer saws are better for stability testso Basic Snow Study Kit - dial stem thermometer(s), crystal card, loupe, rulero Notebook and Writing Utensilo Down or Synthetic Jacketo Winter Snow Boots – Sorel typeo Thermos - vacuum typeo Compass - adjustable declination a musto Altimeter - Suunto watch works wello Map Case - large zip-loc will sufficeo Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles GROUP GEAR PROVIDED BY PGS o Technical Gearo Group 1st Aid Kit