AIARE 1 Avalanche Course


The AIARE 1 is a decision making course for backcountry travelers wanting to learn to manage their personal and group risk and conduct the most effective companion rescue possible in the event of an accident. We offer courses this year in Mammoth Lakes! These are the best Level 1 courses in the country, developed and taught by the most experienced AIARE qualified instructors in the industry.

This year all of our courses will be a hybrid format with a virtual classroom and 2 days of field work. The classroom portion will be over 2 evenings the week prior to the course. The field days are scheduled below.


  • $0.00

AIARE 1 Avalanche Course


Pro-skier Chris Bentchetler tries his own signature skis out on a Rutschblock during an AIARE 1 avalanche course.


The Level 1 is a three day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management that will:

  • Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
  • Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
  • Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.
  • Teach to ask the right questions, rather than look for the “answer.”
  • Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE 2 course.

Student Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the Level One course the student should be able to:

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

Instructional Sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction):
1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena

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

2. Observations and Information Gathering

  • Field observation techniques
  • Snow column tests
  • Avalanche danger factors- “Red Flags”
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale

3. Trip Planning and Preparation
4. Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
5. Routefinding and travel techniques
6. Decision Making and Human Factors
7. Companion Rescue and Equipment


  • Courses are based in our classroom in Mammoth Lakes, unless indicated otherwise as a course near June Mountain.
  • Start time is 8am each day and each day finishes before 4:30. Sometimes the instructor may ask if students are willing to start and finish earlier on Day 3, depending on the group and conditions, to increase the rewards of the day.

Included with Course Cost
  • Trained and qualified AIARE instructor(s) with the leading avalanche training curriculum in the US
  • Avalanche Rescue Equipment Rental/Demo (beacon, shovel, probe), if needed
  • Group snow study equipment, as needed
  • AIARE waterproof field book
  • AIARE 1 Student Manual

Not Included
  • Travel, Lodging, Food
  • Backcountry Equipment - We do have full backcountry skiing equipment for rent with skis made locally in Mammoth for us by Community Skis. We have snowshoes, backpacks, and other items for rent also.