The AIARE Level 1 course is a 3 day/24 hour introduction to avalanche hazard management.

Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion.

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Student Prerequisites:

Student must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. Please contact us if you have questions regarding your preferred mode of mountain travel. 

Equipment List:

Items below are REQUIRED for all AIARE courses unless marked otherwise:*

Clothing for moving and standing still in cold/snowy weather (no cotton)

  • Outerwear & underwear
  • Gloves / mitts – 2 pair
  • Spare puffy
  • Warm hat & sun hat

Protective & storage equipment

  • Pack (airbag pack OPTIONAL)
  • Helmet (RECOMMENDED for skiing/boarding, REQUIRED for snowmobiling)
  • Knee pads (OPTIONAL, nice for kneeling in snow)
  • Goggles, sunglasses & sunscreen
  • Water bottle &/or insulated beverage container & food

Navigation, communication & observation equipment

  • Navigation kit – terrain images, local map (1:24,000 scale preferred), compass, altimeter & GPS or smartphone
  • Digital camera or smartphone
  • Small binoculars / monocular for distance viewing
  • Clinometer
  • Headlamp & spare batteries
  • Two-way radio, GMRS or VHF w/ license (OPTIONAL)
  • Cell-phone (OPTIONAL)
  • Satellite phone or transponder (OPTIONAL)

Avalanche rescue equipment

  • Avalanche probe 260cm or longer (dedicated collapsible avalanche probe, integrated ski pole probes are not sufficient)
  • Collapsible metal shovel
  • Digital avalanche transceiver
    • Note:  The following equipment can affect your transceiver function.  Do not bring or use the following items during field sessions
      • Electrically heated gloves or other garments
      • Clothing with magnets (e.g. magnetized zipper flap closures)
      • Camera or electronic devices with wireless capability (e.g. GoPro Hero3+)
      • Chest mounted cameras or other electronic devices
      • Wristwatches with radio transmission functions (e.g. GPS capability)
      • Heart rate monitors
  • Avalanche rescue response checklist, found inside the back cover of the AIARE field book

Other accident response equipment

  • Personal first aid kit (blisters, meds, wound care, gloves/face shield, splinting material, sugar etc.)
  • Repair kit, specific to your mode of travel (consider multi-tool, bit driver, hose clamps, straps, spare screws, tape, zip ties, spare basket, pole repair, spark plugs, drive belt etc…)
  • Insulating pad (can be part of pack)
  • Firestarting kit (lighter & tinder)
  • Rescue sled, portable w/ supporting slings/straps (OPTIONAL, one per group is sufficient)
  • Emergency shelter as appropriate (OPTIONAL, space blanket, guide’s tarp, bivy sac / bothy bag etc…)

Travel equipment may be specific to your course, check with us in advance to confirm one of the following:

Skiing Equipment:

  • Touring boots
  • Skis with touring bindings & skins (please adjust bindings to boots & skins to skis before the course)
  • Poles


Snowboarding Equipment:

  • Split Board with touring bindings & skins (please adjust bindings to boots & skins to board before the course). For students using a snowboard, split boards are preferred, as compared to traveling with snowshoes.
  • Boots
  • Collapsible poles



  • Snowshoes (adjusted to boots, please test thoroughly before the course). Snowshoes are not recommended for courses where deep new snow conditions or steep terrain will likely be experienced. Please contact course provider to see if snowshoes are appropriate.

*Group rescue equipment is supplied by Sierra Alpine Education. Travel and Rescue equipment is available for rental.  Please contact us for pricing and availability.