AIARE PRO 1 Bridge Course/Exam


AIARE is not currently offering PRO 1 Bridge courses. 


Course/Exam Description

Photo: Chris Pruden

The AIARE PRO 1 Bridge Course/Exam is a two-day exam that provides certification for the experienced avalanche worker.

On the first day, participants will be introduced to the evaluation criteria for the course; they will participate in practice field sessions; and they will complete the rescue exam, written exam, and terrain photo exam. Day two consists of station weather, snow profile, snowpack tests, and field terrain evaluations.

Course/Exam Eligibility:

Bridge applicants are required to be currently working (guides, patrollers, highway workers, instructors). In order to be eligible, participants must provide documentation demonstrating they are routinely applying SWAG guidelines to daily observations and participating in their operations’ risk assessment (see Prerequisites).

The Bridge Course/Exam assumes the participant has backcountry experience and he or she is a working professional with field practice of applying the key decision-making aids taught in the AIARE 1, including the AIARE Trip Plan, the Communication Checklist, Avalanches and Observations Reference, and the Review the Day checklists found in the AIARE (blue) Field Book.

The Bridge Course/Exam is an evaluation to the PRO 1 standard, and is targeted for professionals who can document and demonstrate that their skills and experience in the workplace meet this standard. Students who are not currently in the workplace are advised to take the AIARE PRO 1 course, rather than the Bridge Course/Exam. In addition, students who may meet the minimum standard for the Bridge but lack depth of applied experience are encouraged to consider the AIARE PRO 1. Doing so will provide the student with not only the content and learning of the PRO 1 curriculum, but also the opportunity for mentored practice and feedback before evaluation.

Prerequisites

The AIARE PRO 1 Bridge Course/Exam is a two-day exam that provides certification for the experienced avalanche worker. Please make sure that you meet or exceed the following prerequisites prior to enrolling in the course:  

  1. Course applicants have completed an AIARE Level 2 (or AAA recognized 32 hour L2)  prior to November 2017 in North America and prior to 2017 in South America).
  2. Course applicants have completed an Avalanche Rescue course OR Equivalent.*
  3. At least one winter season (20 days or more) work experience applying the 2016 Snow, Weather and Avalanche Observation and Recording.  Guidelines (SWAG) in a work environment and/or as part of a daily avalanche risk evaluation process.
  4. A letter of reference from a supervisor verifying relevant work experience. The reference must document the applicant’s experience participating in daily operational activities that require avalanche observation and mitigation.

* “Equivalent” must be documented by submitting the AIARE Rescue Assessment Checklist and a letter of reference. The goal of this requirement is for the applicant to have demonstrated that he or she can lead and coordinate a backcountry avalanche rescue that involves managing site safety, managing responders, and conducting a successful search and excavation in a multiple burial scenario. Each item on the checklist should be reviewed and initialed by the applicant’s work supervisor, and the attached letter of reference must include information (including dates and location of practice) attesting that the applicant has demonstrated each skill/step during workplace rescue response practices, and that her/his competency has been evaluated by a supervisor.

 

Course Dates

AIARE is not currently offering Bridge courses. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Please email sean.zimmerman-wall@avtraining.org if you need more information or have specific questions.

 

 

Application

The AIARE PRO 1 Bridge Course/Exam is a two-day exam that provides certification for the experienced avalanche worker. 

  1. A cover letter describing your professional goals.
  2. A resume showing the required work experience applying the 2016 Snow, Weather and Avalanche Observation and Recording Guidelines (SWAG) in a work environment and/or as part of a daily avalanche risk evaluation process. You can use this document to detail your experience.
  3. A letter of reference from supervisor verifying relevant work experience. The reference must document your experience participating in daily operational activities that require avalanche observation and mitigation.
  4. Two recent snow profiles, documented in notebook and graphic format.
  5. Two days of operational hazard forecast forms, guide meeting forms, AM/PM forms or trip plans using the AIARE Field Book Plan pages.
  6. Your Level 2 certificate  (AIARE Level 2 or AAA recognized 32 hour L2) taken prior to November 2017 in North America and prior to 2017 in South America).
  7. Your Avalanche Rescue course certificate OR Equivalent* and your completed Avalanche Rescue Checklist from that program.
  8. A completed and signed medical form. Download the PDF to your computer, fill it out, save it, and include it in your application email.
  9. In addition, on the first day of your course you will be asked to sign this acknowledgement of risk document.

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Students are encouraged to make healthy, restful choices as they are planning personal logistics for this class. Budgeting for warm, dry, comfortable overnight accommodations is advised.

* “Equivalent” must be documented by submitting the AIARE Rescue Assessment Checklist and a letter of reference. The goal of this requirement is for the applicant to have demonstrated that he or she can lead and coordinate a backcountry avalanche rescue that involves managing site safety, managing responders, and conducting a successful search and excavation in a multiple burial scenario. Each item on the checklist should be reviewed and initialed by the applicant’s work supervisor, and the attached letter of reference must include information (including dates and location of practice) attesting that the applicant has demonstrated each skill/step during workplace rescue response practices, and that her/his competency has been evaluated by a supervisor.


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.

 

Pre-Course Work and Assignments

Once your application has been accepted, you must complete your Pre-Course work and assignments before attending the Bridge Course/Exam. Please send in your assignments to your instructors via email at least one week before the first day of the course.

  1. View pre-course videos focused on SWAG standards; practice skills and techniques prior to the Bridge.
  2. Submit two completed Hazard and Risk Operational forms (or trip plans) from the current winter. The forms should illustrate daily participation, local observations, and the process of avalanche risk management including the following hazard and risk factors: weather, snow, and avalanche observations; and a summary of the avalanche problem and forecast danger. The operational form should also include a risk reduction or control plan.
  3. Submit two snow profiles from the current season that include at least one compression test, an ECT and a PST.
  4. Review the chapter questions in the AIARE 2 Workbook .
  5. Complete the pre-course quiz and exercises.

Prior to the course you will also need to read and be familiar with the AIARE 2 course materials, including:

  1. The AIARE 2 Workbook— including the Introductory chapter exercise and case study, and the questions following chapters 1 and 2.
  2. The Snow, Weather and Avalanches Guidelines (2016 ed).
  3. The Avalanche Handbook Chapters 2, 3, and 4 (specifically the reading excerpts listed in the AIARE 2 Workbook at the end of chapters 1 and 2).

AIARE 2 Workbook and online materials will be made available as part of the Pre-Course Work that will be sent out via email once your application is complete.

 

Scholarships

 

Kizaki-Wolf Scholarship for Instructor Training, Course Leader Training & PRO Training

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 student will collect and analyze data and evidence as part of a simulated workplace avalanche hazarding risk assessment. Students will demonstrate proficiency at observing and recording weather, snowpack, and avalanche occurrence information (applying SWAG guidelines). Instructors will also evaluate student knowledge of avalanche formation and release, and student ability to identify and characterize avalanche terrain. The evaluation is conducted to same PRO 1 evaluation criteria for the SWAG observation and recording guidelines. Successful students will receive the AIARE PRO 1 Bridge Course certificate.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Assessment

Course assessment principles adhere to those described in the American Avalanche Association (AAA)  Professional Avalanche Training Guidelines and Proficiencies for the PRO 1 Bridge Course.

A course grade of 70% is required to pass.

Category 1: Avalanche rescue skills (pass/fail). Note also that students are required to submit their completed Avalanche Rescue Assessment as a requirement for enrollment.

Category 2: Observation and Recording. Students are required to submit documented observations for instructor review prior to the course start date. The students will receive some coaching and direction on the submitted field weather and snow profile observations prior to the start of the course and then again on the first day of the course. Weather and snow profile observations and snowpack tests are reviewed on the first day of the course and the evaluation criteria is explained to each student.

Category 3: Hazard and Risk Analysis Forms and Written Exam. Students complete a hazard and risk analysis form and complete a written exam the first day. The written exam is 50 questions, plus a terrain photo exam,  Identifying avalanche terrain and choosing field observation sites that complement field decisions.

PRO 1 Bridge Course/Exam Instructors attend both AAA Pro Trainer Workshops and annual preseason AIARE staff training, and all Pro Instructors participate in a pre-course prep day (prior to PRO 1 Bridge programs) to ensure consistency between instructors with both demonstration method and evaluation criteria.

Students have the right to a retest of weather plot and snow profile observations, snowpack tests and the written exam, and can appeal their grade. This information is included in the student information package which will be sent out once students have enrolled in the program.

 

A3 PRO 1 Bridge Guidelines