AIARE | Level 1 Avalanche Course | Downing Mountain Lodge
Know the snow and prepare for the unexpected. The AIARE 1 course is a 3 day (24 hour) introduction to avalanche hazard management.
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 AIARE Level 1 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
- Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test
- Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
- Observation checklist
- Avalanche danger scale
3. Trip Planning and Preparation
- Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
- Route finding and travel techniques
- Decision making and Human Factors
4. Companion Rescue and Equipment
- 16 years of age or older
- Able to travel in avalanche terrain
- Required equipment for all avalanche courses: Equipment List