AIARE: Level 1 Avalanche Course

As you know from our last blog, Apex Mountain School will be offering AIARE level 1 Avalanche Education Courses in Colorado’s Vail Valley. Apex has teamed up with AIARE (the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) to provide two, three day, level 1 avalanche education courses in the 2011 winter season. The course consists of one classroom day and two field days. Field days involve backcountry travel via ski touring, splitboarding, or snowshoeing.

Our curriculum is AIARE standard and adheres to the AAA (American Avalanche Association) suggested requirements for avalanche courses, and all instructors are AIARE-certified. The 3 day course offers an introduction to avalanche hazard management.

Course topics include:

  • Planning and preparation for traveling into the backcountry: learn how to plan your route, backup plans, escape plans, and how to use the weather and avalanche forecast. What equipment and items to bring into the backcountry.
  • Decision making and risk management in in avalanche terrain.
  • Introduction to the snow science in avalanche prediction.
  • Assessing terrain.
  • Evaluating the snowpack: snow pits, snowpack tests, and quick tests to do while in motion.
  • How to understand weather and its effect on the snow stability.
  • The human factor: how to reduce associated subjective hazards.
  • Observation techniques, including: field recordings, observation checklist, and red flags.
  • Route finding: establishing pathways through the mountains.
  • Companion rescue: effectively using your beacon, shovel and probe in the field.

This course has no prerequisites, and is highly recommended for outdoor professionals and recreationalists that travel in avalanche terrain.

Dates for the Vail, Colorado AIARE level 1 courses are January 28th-30th, and February 11th-13th, 2011.  Visit our website’s AIARE level 1 page, call (888) 686-7685, or contact us to register today. For those interested or who have already signed up visit AIARE’s “preparing for an avalanche course” to gain more insight on how to get ready for the course.