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Trip

AIARE 1 Plus Avalanche Course

Overview

This course is an introduction to managing avalanche hazard PLUS an extra field day to gain a deeper understanding of terrain management and winter backcountry travel skills. You will learn how to use a repeatable process to manage your risk and learn from your experiences in the backcountry. You will also practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip. The importance of record keeping, communicating, and making continuous decisions about hazards while in the backcountry will be demonstrated while in the field and you will learn rescue techniques if an avalanche occurs and someone is caught.  The extra field day ensures that you will have ample time to review and practice all of the information and skills.

 

$650 Per Person
4 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
6:1, 12:2

Trip Information

$650
Price based on 6 students per instructor. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com

This AIARE 1 Plus course is an introduction to managing avalanche hazard PLUS an extra field day. You will learn how to use a repeatable process to manage your risk and learn from your experiences in the backcountry. You will also practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, keeping track of, communicating, and making decisions about hazards while in the backcountry, and learn rescue techniques if an avalanche occurs and someone is caught.

Why Take Your AIARE 1 Plus with PGS? 

Our guides have some of the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate. Our instructors have completed an AIARE Instructor Training Course and are members of the American Avalanche Association, and many of them are AMGA-certified guides, Wilderness First Responders, EMTs, and/or Leave No Trace educators.  You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us. You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on backcountry skills and routes.

Who Should Take this Course?

The AIARE 1 Plus is for any skier or splitboarder who wants to recreate in or near avalanche terrain.  This course is for people who enjoy movement-based learning.  Because this course incorporates a third field day, you should be physically fit enough to do 3 backcountry tour days in a row. You should be able to travel off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow, but there are no other prerequisites for this course.

 

The minimum requirement for all AIARE courses is a strong upper intermediate skiing or snowboarding ability in all types of terrain and conditions. The backcountry terrain on Snoqualmie Pass is challenging for splitboarders and the skill level has to be a bit higher still than for skiers. This means you are comfortable in ungroomed conditions in all types of snow (heavy, wet snow, powder, ice, breakable crust, etc). You should be able to make controlled turns in difficult, steep and tight terrain with any of the above mentioned snow conditions. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it should not cause stress. It is important to have had at least some practice with your touring equipment before taking this course. Again, this is not for the new or novice downhill skier or snowboarder; you should feel pretty dialed to ride anything downhill in your touring equipment and while carrying a pack.

 

This AIARE 1 Plus course is offered at Snoqualmie Pass only.

AIARE 1 is a prerequisite for AIARE 2, as well as the Pro 1 course for aspiring avalanche professionals. 

What You’ll Learn

During an AIARE 1 course, you’ll spend time learning these skills, both in a classroom setting and in the field: 

  • A repeatable process for managing risk in the winter backcountry
  • Identifying avalanche hazard
  • Developing a plan for travel in avalanche terrain
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Build habits to maintain awareness, communicate with your group, and make decisions 
  • Learn and practice avalanche rescue skills
  • PLUS you will have an extra field day to practice your skills on a typical backcountry tour day.

 

Course Times/Dates

2022-2023 Dates Schedule Classroom Type Mode of Travel
Jan 25-29 Wed Eve Classroom; Fri/Sa/Su Field Zoom Ski or Splitboard
Feb 8-12 Wed Eve Classroom; Fri/Sa/Su Field Zoom Ski or Splitboard

 

Please note that you will only see the start date for the course when you are booking. If the date shows 0 open spots, the course is sold out and you may opt to join the waitlist for that course.  You may join as many waitlists as you like.

Duration: 4
Ratio: 6:1, 12:2
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate
Skills Required: Solid intermediate skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing skills
Fitness Level: Moderate


Private Trips Available

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest.
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Itinerary

AIARE  1 SAMPLE COURSE CURRICULUM

Day 1 Online/Zoom: one evening session 6:00 - 8:00pm 

  •  Welcome/Introductions
  •  What is AIARE?
  •  Course objectives and goals
  •  Case study
  •  Theme of course – Introduction to Decision Making Framework
  •  Avalanche Types and Characteristics
  •  Avalanche Terrain
  •  Planning and Preparation
  •  Avalanche forecasts
  •  Telemetry
  •  Maps and navigation
  •  Information gathering
  •  Human factors
  •  Equipment
  •  Avalanche Danger Scale
  •  Observations and Clue Gathering
  •  Creation of Layers in the Mountain Snowpack

 

Days 2/3/4 Field Days: at Snoqualmie Pass 8am-4pm

  • Common errors and The Human Factor
  • Terrain selection and travel technique
  • Introduction to transceivers (function check, battery check)
  • Active tests
  • Demonstration of travel techniques
  • Terrain identification/management
  • Terrain red flag identification
  • Slope angle, aspect, elevation
  • Layering
  • Compression tests
  • Companion Rescue - single burial, shoveling techniques, probing techniques
  • Rescue scenarios
  • Course review/debrief
  • Course evaluations
  • Question and answer

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
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Pricing

$650
per person
Price based on 6 students per instructor. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 30 days away or an international trip that is over 60 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 30 or more days before domestic trips or 60 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 30 days of the start of domestic trips or 60 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Clothing
Base Layer
  • Lightweight or midweight top (avoid cotton)
  • Lightweight or midweight long underwear bottoms, may omit depending on the warmth of your pants
  • Warm socks
Mid Layer
  • Fleece or wool or similar warmth layer
  • Wind shirt or soft shell jacket - wind & water resistant, breathable
Outerwear
  • Waterproof/breathable jacket with hood
  • Ski/snowboard pants - either softshell or waterproof pants are acceptable
  • Waterproof pants - necessary in warmer temps if your ski pants are not waterproof - ensure you can get them on/off over your boots (full side zips ideal)
  • Down or synthetic puffy-type jacket
  • Warm hat - should cover ears
  • Sun hat - baseball type or visor
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Ski gloves or mittens
  • A 3rd pair of gloves - recommended for temps above freezing because your gloves will get wet (lightweight or midweight)
Personal Gear
  • Day pack – large enough to fit everything inside (around 30 liters) - dedicated shovel pocket preferred
  • Water bottles - enough for a full day - wide mouth best to prevent freezing shut, hydration systems are okay if the temps are going to be above freezing
  • Lunch and snacks - enough for a full day
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Face mask/covering - for when closer contact is required during training
Technical Gear

Snow Travel Gear

  • Snow travel equipment - alpine touring or telemark skis, splitboard, or snowshoe
    • Make sure you are proficient at using this gear prior to the course!
  • Boots - touring ski boots, snowboard boots, or winter hiking boots (if snowshoeing)
  • Poles - adjustable poles are ideal so you can adjust the length when going uphill/downhill
  • Climbing skins - if using skis or splitboard
  • Ski brakes or removable ski leashes

Safety Gear

  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
  • Probe - dedicated probe only (240cm or longer strongly recommended)

Snow Study Equipment (required for AIARE Level 2 ONLY)

  • Snow saw - longer saws are better for stability tests
  • Snow crystal ID card - black and metal preferred

 

Optional Items
  • Basic snow study kit - dial stem thermometer(s), crystal card, magnifying loupe, ruler
  • Notebook and writing utensil
  • Thermos - with a hot drink
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter watch
  • Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • Map case - large Ziploc bags work well
  • Camera
  • Hand sanitizer
Equipment Sales & Rental

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FAQs

How much time will we be spending indoors versus in the field?

There will be only one 2-hour Zoom session.  AIARE guidelines require two field days, but we are incorporating three full field days.

Is there another course that work well in conjunction with the AIARE Level one course?

Yes, we believe that the 3-day Ski Touring course would work very well. This application and movement based ski touring course is a great compliment to the more principle-based AIARE course. This is why we offer a 10% discount on each course for anyone who signs up for both courses in the same season.

Should I tip my guide?

Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story
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