5-days or 45 hours 1020
This course is designed for avalanche workers early in their careers, or for experienced workers wanting to stay current with industry standards. The focus of this course is to prepare students to be contributing members of a risk management team by developing observational skills, as well as communication and rescue skills. During this course, we will focus on developing systems for planning and executing a route, as well as for evaluating snow stability. The goal of this course is to help students become skilled observers who will contribute to a professional team.
Students will practice and be evaluated on the following skills:
- Small party avalanche rescue response
- Weather station observations
- Use of morning and evening stability worksheets
- Communication of the avalanche risk to team members
- Assess and analyze avalanche terrain
- Group management in terrain appropriate for the avalanche problem
- Snow pit site selection
- Dig and analyze a snowpit, including weak layer identification and stability tests
- Observation and documentation of snowpack, weather and avalanches
This is a pass/fail course.
- Recreational Level 1 avalanche course
- Rescue Fundamentals course
- Minimum of one season between the Recreational Level 1 & Professional Level 1 used to apply the tools and strategies learned on a level 1.
In addition to these pre-requisites, students must have one winter season (20 days or more) of relevant experience (demonstrated through one of following):
- Prior avalanche work experience; OR
- A supervised unpaid work internship in the guiding/avalanche industry supported by a letter of reference; OR
- Letter of recommendation from AAA Professional member; OR
- AAA Membership (Affiliate or Professional); OR
- Winter backcountry travel experience supported by documented trip planning and recorded field observations that contributed to avalanche hazard assessment and personal avalanche risk management.
- Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper
- Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG)
Have questions on the pro/rec split? See our pro/rec frequently asked questions page for more details, including a visual of the course progression.