Essential Eligibility Criteria


AIARE wants to ensure the expectations of participants and instructors are aligned prior to arrival on a course. The health and well-being of our students and staff as well as providing the highest quality avalanche education are our priorities.  We have created these Essential Eligibility Criteria as a communication tool, subject to adaptation as needed. 

AIARE course travel takes place in remote locations, is dynamic, and is, oftentimes, mentally rigorous.  Participants must be able to endure strenuous environments as well as be in close physical distance with instructors and other course participants. The inherent nature of the course location and content require students to be fully committed to and capable of working hard, taking responsibility for themselves, and working effectively in the group to achieve the educational goals of the course.

To participate in an AIARE field-based course, you must meet the Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC).


The following apply to all AIARE field courses: 

Each participant must:

  • Be able to stay alert and to focus for eight to twelve hours at a time for up to 6 days while in both a classroom and outdoor settings.
  • Work cooperatively as a member of a group and support a team approach, despite potentially challenging circumstances. This may require flexibility and the ability to compromise on an interpersonal or group level.  It also requires effectively communicating ideas and concerns on an individual and group level.
  • Contribute to a respectful and positive learning environment—no inappropriate behavior, verbal or physical, toward others is tolerated for any reason. Communicate one’s own needs, using inclusive language, taking accountability for one’s actions, etc. 
  • Be able to travel through mountainous terrain and variable snow conditions, both uphill and downhill on the course mode of travel.  If on skis (AT or telemark) or splitboards, you must be able to travel efficiently by ascending 900-1200 ft/hour. If on a snowmachine, expert riding ability and be proficient with sidehilling, navigating through dense timber, and be accustomed to traveling long distances (15-20 miles) over varying terrain. If moving on snowshoes, or on foot, be capable of trail-setting, ascending, descending, side hilling through open and forested terrain at walking pace (approx ascending 700 feet/hour)..
  • Be able to independently identify and recognize environmental hazards. These hazards may include, but are not limited to, falling objects/rocks, loose rock and unstable surfaces, rugged steep and uneven terrain, cliff edges, crevasses, and snow fall.
  • Recognize and understand the hazards and risks posed by other course participants, which include, but are not limited to, fatigue, state of mind, and actions that may influence judgment and decision-making.
  • Travel during periods of inclement weather for an extended period of time and act reliably around hazards to minimize risk when not directly supervised.
  • Be able to manage cold temperatures (-20 degrees F or colder).
  • Be able to competently use an avalanche transceiver and efficiently move over avalanche debris without skis, splitboard, or snowmobile.
  • Be able to shovel in order to conduct a rescue, engage in educational practice, and/or exams.
  • Perform necessary self-care, including maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration, dressing appropriately for environmental conditions, managing known medical conditions, and proactively reducing the spread of any infectious disease.
  • Practice Leave No Trace traveling techniques.

If you are unable to meet any of these requirements, you will be ineligible for field-based AIARE programs. If already on a program, you may be removed.