Jake Hutchinson

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Jake is a lead avalanche course instructor with AAI and has more than 25 years of professional and personal experience skiing and climbing in avalanche terrain. His diverse background includes 25+ years ski patrolling and avalanche forecasting in the Wasatch at The Canyons and Alta, operational forecasting for the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park and extensive work with WBR, CRAD and other US avalanche SAR organizations. He is an A3 Certified Instructor and served as the A3 Certified Instructor Rep for almost a decade. He is currently the Membership Trustee on the A3 Governing Board. He has been teaching avalanche courses for AAI (American Avalanche Institute) for nearly 20 years. Between time in the mountains you will find him exploring remote deserts and mountains on one of his motorcycles, head buried in the welding shop or off with his dog, Colt.

What avalanche courses do you teach?

Avalanche Professional Level 1, Avalanche Professional Level 2, Recreational Avalanche Level 1, Recreational Avalanche Level 2, K9 Avalanche Training, Professional Rescue Course

What is your favorite snow story?

I don’t know how I could pick one… I guess it’s just watching Max, the young kid we saved in the Red Pine Chutes accident grow into an adult and succeed in the world. Everything else seems kinda material.

What was the path that led you to avalanche education?  

A phone call from Rod Newcomb asking me to present season history and program overview for the Canyons at a level 2 back in 98 or 99, I had dabbled in teaching a few NSP courses prior to that , but I never considered doing it full time until Rod called and then encouraged me.

Why do you enjoy teaching?

I think it’s just the ongoing learning and growth process. I learn something new with each passing season and experience, watching the lights of an understanding turn on in a student’s eyes is my favorite part of this

I think it’s important to remember the snow isn’t nearly as mysterious and secretive as we often like to think. If you look close enough and in the right places, the information is there. The real trick to all this is making good decisions and not allowing yourself to fall into the various pitfalls of being human

What do you do with your offseason?

Good question, as I recently took a hard direction change. I weld, I ride motorcycles and train dogs.


Courses With AAI

Our instructors are the core of your experience with the American Avalanche Institute. They bring the science and knowledge of avalanche safety to life in real-world settings. If you’re interested in learning more from Jake, or one of our other amazing instructors check out our full course offerings today.

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