AIARE Class details

These details are for the AIARE class on Jan 7-8th 2023

Please allow for 8 hours of online learning before your field days. Online learning covers an overview of avalanche types and characteristics. We will introduce cases studies to analyze avalanche incidents. Course progression includes:

Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena:

  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering

Trip Planning and Preparation:

  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors


Day 1 (Saturday) – Meet in the field 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • This day will involve a combination of indoor and outdoor training. The day will start with a discussion of weather observations and how to use a daily avalanche bulletin to assess risk. After the initial discussion, we will travel outdoors to introduce beacons and companion rescue. The day ends with a route planning session as we prepare for our final day, a full day in the mountains.

Day 2: Meets in the field 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • The day will start with a discussion of weather observations and how to use a daily avalanche bulletin to assess risk. We will then move outdoors and travel into the backcountry. During the day we focus on appropriate travel techniques, features of the snowpack, and terrain identification. We end the day with a mock rescue scenario and debrief.

Ages: 18+ or 16+ with guardian consent and Kaf approval


This is a stand-alone course. Some backcountry travel is recommended, but not required. 

What You Will Learn:

  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain
  • Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain
  • Identify avalanche terrain
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue

What is Included:

  • 16 hours of professional field instruction
  • 8 hours of online curriculum (delivered in email, 2 weeks before your course start date)
  • AIARE Level 1 curriculum handouts to add to your home library
  • An AIARE field book
  • A group snow study kit
  • AIARE 1 Certificate

What is NOT Included:

  • Winter travel equipment
  • Transportation
  • Lunch
  • Personal layers
  • Personal avalanche safety gear: beacon, probe, and shovel


  • Skis, boots, and bindings (Metal edge skis, plastic boots, and Randonee/alpine touring/downhill Telemark bindings). Please note: Cross-country skis will not work for backcountry tours.
  • Splitboard with adjustable bindings that move into “tour” mode efficiently (Soft boots are okay, and hard boots are preferred)
  • Additional equipment needed:
    • Personal avalanche safety gear: beacon, probe, and shovel
    • Collapsible ski poles
    • Personal layers


Transportation and times will be coordinated by email when the pre-trip announcement is sent to all registrants.


It is recommended you stay at the WAC’s Guye Cabin Saturday night and you are welcome Friday night as well. The cost is $25 per night and you can reserve your space here. The cabin is a shared space with other members of our community, so please familiarize yourself with expectations here.