The PRO 1 is an entry level professional course for those seeking avalanche training and certification for employment in avalanche programs at ski area, transportation, heli and ski tour guiding, alpine and expedition guiding, snowshoe guiding, snowmobile guiding, and public forecasting operations. The PRO 1 covers topics essential to the workplace including identifying and characterizing avalanche terrain, understanding how avalanches form and release, collecting and analyzing weather, snow, and avalanche data, and communicating hazard and risk factors. PRO 1 students conduct daily operational forecast meetings, apply effective communication strategies, and debrief field observations and decisions. The course includes pre-course reading, class presentations and field exercises, and daily travel near or in avalanche terrain.
Successful students receive a PRO 1 certificate that is a national standard audited by the American Avalanche Association. The evaluation criteria is taught and coached by the instructors and then evaluated during field exercises, mock operational exercises, and a written exam. The criteria applies guidelines established by the A3publication, Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG ed. 2016). Backcountry avalanche rescue response, route selection, and group management in avalanche terrain is also taught and evaluated.
AIARE offers PRO 1 programs with different Modes of Travel: Ski/Splitboard, Motorized, and Foot/Snowshoe.
- Motorized PRO 1 Programs are built to meet the both the logistical and operational needs of snowmobile professionals, including snowmobile guides, educators, and operational safety personnel.
- Foot/Snowshoe AIARE PRO 1 Programs are designed to meet the needs of avalanche professionals who manage avalanche hazard at work without significant travel on skis. These courses are designed to include alpine, ice, and expedition guides; avalanche educators teaching recreational avalanche courses to snowshoers, and highways/DOT workers.
These programs share the same goals, learning outcomes, and curriculum as the Ski/Snowboard PRO programs, but field travel will occur using different tools. In addition, the operational exercises on these courses will include ice/alpine guiding for the Foot/Snowshoe programs and snowmobile guiding for the motorized programs.Prerequisites
This course is intended for professionals. Please make sure that you meet the following prerequisites prior to enrolling in the course:
- Course applicants have completed the AIARE 1 course and the AIARE Avalanche Rescue course (or AAA recognized Rec Level 1 and Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals course).
- At least one winter season (20 days* or more) of relevant experience (demonstrated through one of following):
- Winter backcountry travel experience supported by documented trip planning and recorded field observations that contributed to avalanche hazard assessment and personal avalanche risk management (see below); OR
- Prior avalanche work experience supported by a reference.
*The minimum requirement of 20 days can occur during more than one winter season.
Professional course dates are typically announced in late summer/early fall. Please check back here at that time.
Registration is a two-part process; you need to submit documents listed below to email@example.com, and register and pay for the course by clicking on the “register now” button below.
- A cover letter describing your professional goals.
- A resume showing the relevant backcountry winter travel experience and/or work experience (with professional reference letter if demonstrating work experience). Please use this document to detail your experience.
- Three days of field book trip plans (example, from the AIARE field book Page 8 & 9) to demonstrate that you have applied the AIARE 1 principles of decision making in winter backcountry terrain. This includes the daily trip plan, field weather and snowpack observations, and debrief notes.
- Your certificate of completion for AIARE 1 (or AAA recognized Rec 1).
- Your certificate of completion for AIARE Avalanche Rescue course (or AAA recognized Rec Level 1 and Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals course).
- A completed and signed medical form. Download the PDF to your computer, fill it out, save it, and include it in your application email.
- In addition, on the first day of your course you will be asked to sign this acknowledgement of risk document.
Students are strongly encouraged to make healthy, restful choices as they are planning personal logistics for this class. Budgeting for warm, dry, comfortable overnight accommodations is advised.
Cancellation Policy: If you cancel your course registration for any reason within 40 days of the start date of the course, there is no refund. If you cancel your course registration 40 days or more before the start date of the course, you will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. Course fees are non-transferable, and can not be applied to other AIARE courses or AIARE fees. If AIARE cancels the course for any reason, a full refund will be given.
The cancellation and refund policy goes into effect immediately upon being accepted into the course. This cancellation and refund policy pertains to all course participants. No exceptions to the policy can be made.
We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance (including medical and evacuation insurance) to cover the costs of cancellation fees, airfare, and other non-refundable expenses in the event that you need to cancel from the course, AIARE needs to cancel a course due to lack of snow or events beyond our control, or you are injured prior to or during the course.
The Kizaki-Wolf AIARE Scholarship supports outstanding outdoor professionals in furthering their avalanche education and teaching skills. This scholarship provides full or partial tuition for an Instructor Training Course, Course Leader Training Course or PRO 1 or PRO 2 course
Goals and Objectives
The PRO 1 provides professional avalanche training and certification for those seeking employment in avalanche programs at ski area, transportation, heli and ski tour guiding, alpine and expedition guiding, snowshoe guiding, snowmobile guiding, and public forecasting operations. The PRO 1 covers topics essential to the workplace including identifying and characterizing avalanche terrain, understanding how avalanches form and release, collecting and analyzing weather, snow, and avalanche data, and communicating hazard and risk factors. PRO 1 students conduct daily operational forecast meetings, apply effective communication strategies, and debrief field observations and decisions. The course includes pre-course reading, class presentations and field exercises and daily travel near or in avalanche terrain.
PRO 1 Learning Outcomes:
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of avalanche formation and release
- Conduct a small party (2-4 person) avalanche rescue and demonstrate competency to the determined standard. This includes locating two buried targets, and excavating one buried target to the snow surface within a defined time.
- Conduct study plot weather observations. Identify relevant weather trends.
- Conduct a snow profile. Choose a relevant test location and identify important layer and interface characteristics. Document using a snow profile form or digital drafting program.
- Conduct a compression test and identify fracture character.
- Conduct an ECT and PST and identify propensity for crack propagation in the weak layer.
- Observe and record avalanche occurrences. Identify important avalanche hazard factors that relate to a recent or current avalanche occurrence.
- Assess current avalanche hazard factors and describe the avalanche problem and the avalanche danger trend.
- Communicate the avalanche risk between team members.
- Identify and apply strategies to mitigate bias and other challenges to individual and team decision making.
- Relate the current and forecast avalanche problem to specific slopes and terrain features. As part of a trip plan and in the field, identify both terrain to avoid and terrain with less consequence.
- Identify avalanche paths and describe the terrain characteristics that define the start zone, track, and avalanche run out.
- Travel safely over snow in mountainous terrain.
Course assessment principles adhere to those described in the American Avalanche Association (AAA) Professional Avalanche Training Guidelines and Proficiencies for the PRO 1 Course. Students are sent a description of the assessment plan and evaluation criteria prior to the course start date. A course grade of 70% is required to pass. In addition, 70% is required in each category to pass the course. Retests (after the course) are available for evaluation Category 1, 2, and 4 but not Category 3.
Category 1: Avalanche rescue skills (pass/fail). The skills are demonstrated, coached, and self-evaluated during the AIARE Avalanche Rescue course. The same proficiencies are evaluated during the PRO 1 course.
Category 2: Observation and Recording. This includes observation and record keeping of telemetry stations, study plot stations, and field weather and snow profiles and snowpack tests. All observation and recording methods are conducted applying SWAG guidelines.
Category 3: Hazard and Risk Analysis. This category combines hazard and risk identification and analysis and anticipated risk treatment. The mark also includes field monitor and review of conditions, field decisions, and day end summary observations. There is no retest of the Category 3 exam.
Category 4: Written Exam.