Level 3

Cost Duration Dates
$1600 6.5 days (60+ hours) See Dates & Sign Tab

Course Description


This course is the highest level of formal avalanche training in the U.S.. The focus of this course is on improving efficiency and the mastering of observation and analysis skills.  The course progresses beyond hazard analysis and moves into avalanche forecasting for different avalanche problems, snow climates and operations.  The course will advance the skills for both mitigation-based and avoidance-based avalanche professionals.  The tools taught and practiced will apply equally well for ski patrollers, guides, outdoor educators, public avalanche forecasters, and highway program personnel.  The course will also address the distinctions between “mitigators” and guides and add tools for both sets to use.  Approximately half of the course is classroom based and half is field based. We will travel in the backcountry, in and around avalanche terrain.

This course focuses on the following knowledge and skill sets:

  • Proficiency in single and multiple burial search techniques
  • Effective organized rescue techniques and leadership
  • Improved understanding of snowpack formation & metamorphism
  • An overview of current understanding of avalanche release (related back to what practitioners can readily observe in the field)
  • Understanding, and accounting for, spatial variability
  • Strengths and limitations of stability tests
  • Professional standard of recording data and record keeping.
  • Creating personal/professional forecasts and nowcasts based on available information
  • Making operational decisions based upon avalanche hazard analysis
  • Recognizing trends and patterns in stability
  • Efficient & accurate route-finding and group management in complex terrain
  • Human factors that influence decision-making as professionals and recreationists


Download the Level 3 application (pdf)

  • 40 hour Level 2 avalanche course
  • Minimum of 1 season in between Level 2 & Level 3 course.
  • 20 documented tours in avalanche terrain
  • 10 recent snow profiles
  • Able to find 2 buried transceivers within 7 minutes (30m x 30m area)


Recommended Reading

  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper, The Mountaineers
  • The Avalanche Handbook, McClung and Schaerer, The Mountaineers
  • Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG), American Avalanche Association


2016/2017 Course Dates


There are no scheduled courses at this time.