Participant Essential Eligibility Criteria

AIARE wants to ensure our and your expectations are aligned prior to your 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. To support this, we have created these Essential Eligibility Criteria as a communication tool. These criteria are reviewed and adapted on a regular basis.

AIARE courses take place in remote locations. These courses are dynamic, making them physically and mentally rigorous. Participants must be able to endure strenuous environments as well as be at a close physical distance from instructors and other course participants. The inherent nature of the course location and content requires 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 following Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC).

  • Be able to stay alert and focused for eight to twelve hours at a time for the duration of your course while in both 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 at an individual and group level.
  • Contribute to a respectful and positive learning environment by communicating your own needs, using inclusive language, and taking accountability for your actions. Inappropriate behavior, verbal or physical, toward others, is not tolerated. 
  • Be able to travel uphill and downhill through mountainous terrain and variable snow conditions. If on skis or splitboards, you must be able to travel efficiently, ascending 900-1200 ft/hour. If on a snowmachine, you must have expert riding ability and be proficient with side-hilling, navigating through dense timber, and be accustomed to traveling long distances (15-20 miles) over varying terrain. If moving on snowshoes or on foot, you must be capable of trail-setting, ascending, descending, and side-hilling through open and forested terrain at a 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 avalanches.
  • Recognize and understand the hazards and risks posed by other course participants, which include, but are not limited to, physical and mental states that negatively 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 you are already on a program, you may be removed.