Professional & Recreational Avalanche Training

pristine untouched sparkling new snow with one center skin track leading the way into the unknown

Beginning in 2017/18, the avalanche education industry as a whole split the education track into a professional education track and recreational education track.  This means that once you have completed a level 1 avalanche course (both tracks start with the level 1), you can choose your educational track – as a recreational user or as an industry professional/aspiring professional.  This allows for your avalanche education experience to be more focused and adaptable to your goals and objectives.

Below are frequently asked questions about the new system.  If you don’t find the answer to your question, email or call us.

FAQs About Avalanche Training:

Where do I start?

The level 1 avalanche course is the starting point for avalanche education.  This class is for recreationists and aspiring professionals.  The course is 24 hours of instruction.  AAI has two course formats for the level 1: a 2 evening, 2-day format or a 3-day format.  Level 1 course locations and dates can be found here. There will not be any significant changes to the Level 1 curriculum or format from previous years.

What if I have already taken a level 1 course?

The Rescue Fundamentals course is your next step.  It is a 1-day course focused on companion rescue skills.  This course is great to do with your touring partners to ensure that your rescue skills are up to speed.  This course is a pre-requisite for the professional level 1 course, as well as for the recreational level 2 course.

If you are a recreational backcountry user and have taken the rescue fundamentals course, your next step is the recreational level 2 course.  See HERE for a course description

If you are a professional user and have taken the rescue fundamentals course, your next step is the professional level 1 course.  See HERE for a course description, course locations and course dates.

What if I’ve already taken a level 2 course?

If you are a professional or an aspiring professional, the Professional Level 1 course is your next step in avalanche education.  

If you are a recreational user and have taken a level 2, your level 2 is equivalent to the recreational level 2 course (it was more training than the new course).  We encourage you to take a rescue fundamentals course to refresh your rescue skills, or the Professional Level 1 bridge course for continuing education.

What if I’ve already taken a level 3 course?

Your level 3 course is equivalent to a Professional Level 2 course.  You do not need to take a bridge course for Pro 2 recognition.

We encourage you to complete continuing education throughout your time as an avalanche professional.

How will the Pro 2 differ from the Level 3 of past years?

Much of the testing that was done on Level 3’s will be done on the “Pro1”, so there will be fewer hard skills assessments.  Grain ID and pit analysis proficiency will be expected at a higher standard than the Pro1, but consistent with the Level 3’s of previous years.  We will have more time to practice and coach Avalanche forecasting than is currently the case with Level 3’s.  Avalanche Terrain Analysis, Operational Forecasting, and creating a technical report/presentation will be new components of the Pro2.  Overall the course will offer more specific training for aspiring snow safety technicians, avalanche forecasters, and lead guides.

Related Posts


Stio Fernos Insulated Jacket Review

The Stio Fernos Insulated Jacket is a versatile, stylish, and rugged mid-layer. I’ve worn this jacket whileteaching avalanche courses in

A backcountry skier searches an avalanche debris field using a Mammut Barryvox S Transceiver.

Mammut Barryvox S Beacon Review

Whether I’m ski guiding or leading avalanche safety courses, the Mammut Barryvox S is my favorite avalanche transceiver. I’ve used

a full snow profile test pit requires knowledge of using the different study kit devices for your professional level 2 courses

Learn with American Avalanche Institute

Start Your Adventure

Stay Connected

Enjoy free tips and tricks from professional mountain guides, special offers and updates, and much more.

Subscribe Newsletter