Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take an avalanche course?

Only if you plan on traveling in avalanche terrain. Travel in avalanche terrain can be dangerous.  To reduce your risk of having an accident, you need to be able to assess and manage your risk.  AIARE courses are specifically designed for backcountry recreational travelers and professionals.

How do I locate an avalanche course provider?

Click here to see a list of our course providers.

What equipment will I need for my avalanche course?

To learn more about what equipment you may need, reach out to the Course Provider for the course you are interested. Equipment lists may vary based on mode of travel, regional weather conditions, and other course specific requirements.

What recreational level course should I attend?

  • The AIARE 1 course is a stand alone, decision makers course.  This single course will give you all of the information you need to begin to build experience safely in the backcountry.   Avalanche education is an experientially learned, life long endeavor.  The AIARE 1 gives you the tools to begin that endeavor.
  • The Avalanche Rescue Course is a one-day stand alone course built for everyone, whether you are just learning how to use your beacon, an aspiring professional, or a backcountry traveler with many years of backcountry experience. This one-day course is a place to both learn new skills and keep your existing skills sharp. Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2.
  • The AIARE 2 is for individuals who have previously taken a three day AIARE 1 and looking to deepen their facilitation and decision making skills. It is a great way to continue avalanche education, deepen skills, and learn new tools.

Find out more about our Recreational Program


Why are some (non-AIARE) Level 1 courses less than the total 24 hours required by the A3?

All AIARE  1 courses are a minimum of 24 hours and comply with the American Avalanche Association’s guidelines for a level 1 course. A3, our professional avalanche organization, requires that all Level 1 courses be 24 hours in length. Guidelines can be found here.

This gives the requisite time necessary for course participants to receive and practice the information.

A course less than 24 hours should not be labeled a Level 1 course.  Anything less than that can be called an awareness course or be a shorter, introductory course for the Level 1.


What is an AST Level 1 and AST Level 2 Course?

The AST courses are avalanche courses designed by the Canadian Avalanche Association and stand for Avalanche Skills Training.  The AST Level 1 would be considered more of an avalanche awareness course and the AST Level 2 would be a more advanced course.  These are excellent courses designed specifically for use in Canada as they use tools and nomenclature unique to Canadian avalanche training programs.  The AST Level 1 course is 16 hours in length and the AST Level 2 is 30 hours.  They do not represent equivalent US Level 1 and Level 2 courses which have specific guidelines developed by the AAA.   The CAA also offers advanced professional training; CAA Industry Training Program, labeled Avalanche Operations Level 1 and Level 2.