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.
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 or the Professional Level 1 Bridge course is your next step in avalanche education. The bridge course is available for the next 2 years and, once completed and passed, will offer Professional Level 1 equivalency. This is a 2-day exam complete with review and testing. You can find the course description, course locations and dates HERE.
If you do not take this course in the next 2 years or if you want a 5-day course rather than a 2-day test, you will need to take a 5-day Professional Level 1 course for professional avalanche training recognition.
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.