February-March: Avalanche Education

February-March: Avalanche Education

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AIARE Avalanche Rescue, Avalanche Refresher, AIARE 1, or AIARE 2 Custom Courses

1 or 3 Days, December-March

Ratio max 6:1

Avalanche education is a key piece in every backcountry traveler's toolbox to stay safe. I offer completely customizable courses, near the ski areas at Mt Baker, Stevens Pass, or Snoqualmie Pass. 


NEW FOR 2018. Avalanche Rescue is a standalone, single day spent learning the in's and out's of avalanche rescue, where you'll learn not only how to be a competent backcountry rescue companion but how to practice in your own time to continue improving. This day starts with learning how your beacon, probe and shovel are used, but progresses into the unlikely (but scariest) multiple-victim scenarios and finishes with learning the unique considerations for first aid and evacuation of an avalanche victim. Ideal for someone beginning their avalanche education, and can be added to an AIARE 1 or AIARE 2 booking into a two-weekend booking.


NEW FOR 2018. The AIARE Avalanche Rescue course is also intended to by used as a "refresher" for anyone who has taken the AIARE 1 or AIARE 2 courses. AIARE recommends that you take this formal review every two years after your avalanche course, to stay abreast of changes in the industry and review critical skills with an instructor. This day can be tailored to you and your groups education and experience.


The AIARE 1 course is a three-day or 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. It gives you the skills you need to recognize avalanche terrain; develop a travel plan through that terrain; tools to make good, quality group decisions; and learn effective basic companion rescue. This is a key skill set for anyone who want to travel or recreate in or even near avalanche terrain. While there aren't any prerequisites to take this course, I encourage you to be familiar with your travel equipment and take the Avalanche Rescue course either before hand or book with this course.

I don't offer scheduled AIARE 1 courses. Instead I offer this as a custom booking for up to 6 people, and I am flexible to your dates and availability. There are 8 hours of classroom material that can be taught in 1 full day or up to 4 evenings, and two full field days. Indoor locations can take place in downtown Seattle, at Snoqualmie Pass, or in your own living room. The field days can take place at Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, or near Mt Baker ski area.

I recommend that you rally three of your mountain partners to join you, making the most of your time and investment in your own safety.


NEW FOR 2018. The new AIARE 2 is designed specifically to meet the needs of advanced backcountry travelers. It utilizes the same three-day or 24-hour format as the AIARE 1, providing backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision making skills in more complicated scenarios like leading a small group, traveling through complicated terrain or increased avalanche hazard, and developing travel plans when outside resources are minimal, scarce or non-existent.

The AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. We'll discuss weather, snowpack, and avalanche processes, and learn how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain. Afterwards you should be better able to differentiate where specific avalanche hazards and identify avalanche terrain with heightened consequences; make relevant observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while on your tour; practice leadership skills that facilitate small group decision making, promote appropriate terrain selection, and use simple risk management strategies; build a basic forecasting framework that can be used with local forecast sources or in their absence.

This course is intended for anyone who has taken the AIARE 1 course, the AIARE Avalanche Rescue & Refresher, and has had at least one full season of experience. You must be an experienced backcountry traveler before this course in order to access the terrain necessary for the learning outcomes and to be able to focus on the new material being taught.

Booking the AIARE 2 course is similar to booking the AIARE 1: the indoor portion can be divided as necessary, the class room hours can be done in several locations, including your own home, and the field portions can be done at several locations. I don't schedule courses, so you're best off rallying a few of your favorite mountain partners to join you and contact me.