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 (A3). 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 A3 publication, Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG ed. 2016). Single-rescuer avalanche 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.
Ski/Splitboard PRO 1 Programs are designed for the widest professional audience. Course participants must be able to safely travel downhill on skis/board through variable backcountry conditions. Participants must also be able to travel uphill at a moderate pace using skins.
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. Participants need to provide their own machine and be proficient riders through variable backcountry conditions.
- Foot/Snowshoe AIARE PRO 1 Programs are designed to meet the needs of avalanche professionals who manage avalanche hazard at work by foot. These courses are designed to include alpine, ice, and expedition guides; avalanche educators teaching recreational avalanche courses to snowshoers, and highways/DOT workers. Participants should be able to travel safely through variable backcountry conditions.
These programs share the same goals, learning outcomes, and curriculum, 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.
Some PRO 1 programs are based in backcountry lodges and are designated ‘Lodge Based’ in the Schedule, below. These programs include lodging and half board (breakfast and dinner) as part of the course cost.Application Process
Applying for the PRO Program shows your commitment to continuing professional development and it requires a multi-step registration process to complete:
- Create an account- If you have do not already have an AIARE account, please create one prior to submitting application.
- Develop a portfolio- Compile all of the proper materials from the list below. Complete this Google Form to organize your information.
- Submit Payment- Select the course you wish to attend from the list by clicking REGISTER NOW below, then proceed through the Checkout Page. To be enrolled in the course you need to have paid the tuition and your application has been approved by our staff.
Developing a complete portfolio is the most critical step in the registration process. It should be taken seriously and carefully crafted in order to be considered for enrollment. Incomplete portfolios will not be accepted and will delay your registration process. The following list represents all the items you will need to compile and include in the Google Form before enrollment in a course is complete.
- A resume showing the relevant backcountry winter travel experience and/or work experience. Please use this document to detail your experience.
- Three days of field book trip plans to demonstrate that you have applied the Level 1 principles of decision making in winter backcountry terrain. This could include the daily trip plan, field weather and snowpack observations, and debrief notes. You may also submit copies of operational meeting forms if you are currently working as a professional. This documentation can be photos or screenshots, but all pieces should be consolidated into one document.
- Copy of your certificate of completion for AIARE 1 (or A3-recognized Recreational Level 1).
- Copy of your certificate of completion for AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course (or A3-recognized Avalanche Rescue Course).
- Signed acknowledgement of risk document.
AIARE suggests taking a Level 2 course prior to taking the PRO 1. This is a great way to bolster your knowledge if you have only met the minimum requirements.
Course Dates & Venue Details
- Dates and Locations TBA. Check back with us soon or contact us directly.
Cancellation Policy & Travel Insurance
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.
Pre-Course Activity Overview
There are several pre-course activities to ensure each participant is ready to actively engage with the PRO 1 materials. 15-20 hours of self-directed work is expected to complete these activities which include:
- watching videos and practicing rescue skills and snow profile techniques and snowpack tests
- reading several articles covering topics such as the Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard and SWAG
- taking a quiz to refresh your knowledge on concepts from snow metamorphism to group risk management
Goals & 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 solo-rescuer avalanche response and demonstrate competency to the determined standard. This includes locating two buried targets in a 50×50 meter area and excavating both buried targets to the snow surface within 7 minutes.
- 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 (A3) 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 in Category 1, 2, and 4.
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 on the first day during the PRO 1 course. Adequate practice and familiarity with your gear is critical in order to achieve passing marks.
Category 2: Observation and Recording. This includes observation and record keeping of telemetry weather 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. The exam covers a variety of topics from the course to provide evaluation of student comprehension.
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, PRO 1, or PRO 2.