Avalanche Level 1

The Level 1 provides a solid foundation in avalanche knowledge and skills

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What’s on a level 1 avalanche class?

Expect to have a mix of touring, skiing and classroom lectures. Learn how to combine the avalanche forecast with field observations to make informed decisions.

The Level 1 provides a solid foundation in avalanche knowledge and skills.  The AAI Backcountry Avalanche Checklist helps to focus the curriculum around a systematic approach to sorting and prioritizing information in the complex environment of decision-making in the backcountry.  We will travel in the backcountry, in and around avalanche terrain.  The classroom portion of the course will be online, with the majority of it self-paced online learning.

Still have questions? See our frequently asked questions section for details on gear, skill levels, and more.

This course focuses on the following:

  • Basic avalanche terminology
  • Recognizing avalanche terrain
  • Travel procedures in avalanche terrain
  • Formation of the mountain snowpack
  • How weather changes the snowpack
  • Human factors and how they can influence decision-making
  • Interpreting the avalanche forecast bulletin
  • Tour planning
  • Avalanche transceiver use and rescue skills
  • Field observations of terrain, snowpack, and weather
  • Basic use and interpretation of stability tests
  • Use of the Backcountry Avalanche Checklist in the field to provide a system for prioritizing information, working as a team, and minimizing possible human factor traps
  • Classroom decision-making scenarios to practice use of the checklist
  • Next steps


Recommended Reading:

  • Snow Sense, Jill Fredston & Doug Fesler
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper
  • Avalanche Essentials, Bruce Tremper


24 hours of instruction (2 field days + evening meeting + self-paced online learning)

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18

What is included on a course:

  1. Professional instruction
  2. Course workbooks
  3. Online/classroom and field instruction
  4. Lift tickets (unless otherwise noted), if the course is operating out of a ski area

What is not included on a course:

  1. Transportation to and from the trailhead
  2. Personal gear
  3. Avalanche rescue gear
  4. Food


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