Professional Avalanche Training 3

  • Price:
  • Duration: 4 Days + 15-20 Hours Online Learning

This course is designed to challenge students to develop and refine the skills required for large scale operational level forecasting and/or consulting.

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The American Avalanche institute’s (AAI) Professional Level 3 course is a supplemental training progression for avalanche professionals who have previously passed an A3 Pro 2 (Level 3), or Canadian Ops 2. 

This course is designed to challenge students to develop and refine the skills required for large scale operational level forecasting and/or consulting. Student groups will be assigned an operational area and be tasked with creating a hypothetical operational scenario and then challenge another group to develop the operational strategy required to address concerns and limitations presented by risks, budgets, potential mitigations and human constraints for theoretical application of avalanche risk management planning and operations.

AAI strives to be at the forefront of the avalanche industry by driving the evolution of Pro education in the US. Our Professional Level 3 course is being offered for the first time this season. The course will include online pre-work and 4 days of field and classroom instruction.

Please note it is not yet recognized or accredited by the American Avalanche Association (A3).

Sample Itinerary:

A Pre course Zoom meeting will be held the evening before the course to cover the following:

  • Review and Q&A of online content
  • Season snow and avalanche history for the forecasting area
  • Group assignments and operating areas for the operational exercise
  • Field and classroom logistics

DAY 1 – Full field day

  • Student led AM weather and avalanche briefing
  • Validation of season history in operational areas
  • Avalanche path ID, data gathering for mini-atlas and creation of forecasting problem

DAY 2 – Full classroom day

  • Large scale operational operational avalanche forecasting and mitigation – guest lecture
  • Hazard Assessment and Avalanche Forecasting – Breaking risk into its individual components
  • Using the Conceptual Model for Avalanche Hazard and addressing updates
  • Student presentations of previous days field work and expectations for forecasting exercise
  • Operational concerns – budgets, time, logistics, resources – creating and developing an operational plan in the real world
  • Human factors and mental health discussion pertaining to pre-course work

DAY 3 – Full field day

  • Field proofing of avalanche atlas
  • Field confirmation of any infrastructure
  • Appropriate wx sites, possible RACs, other defense mechanisms (mitigation routes, trams/trolleys, signage, closed terrain, etc.)
  • Risk/reward analysis of project

Day 4 – Full classroom Day

  • Avalanche formation and mechanics – guest lecture
  • Operational Risk Management and Margins, merging mindset, margins and operational concerns for success
  • Student presentations of forecasting problem and proposed solutions
  • What is missing: biases, strength and weight of evidence – what common traps did the operational groups fall into?
  • Course Q&A – Stump the Chumps

Pre course online modules will include 15-20 hours of work including videos, quizzes and exercises covering the following topics:

  • Risk Management
  • Human Factors and their effects on margins, decision making and observation
  • Avalanche mapping and applying ATES
  • RAC use
  • Operational budgeting concerns
  • Mental health for avalanche professionals
  • Avalanche forecasting using CMAH
  • Introduction to the field forecasting area and operational exercise


Completion of A3 Pro 2 or Level 3 or CAA Operations 2


4 Days + 15-20 Hours Online Learning

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