Decision Making In Avalanche Terrain
Synnott Mountain Guides AIARE classes are organized by IFMGA Guide Mark Synnott, who has over 30 years of experience working and playing in Avalanche terrain.
Mark and his instructors are able to not only teach the AIARE standard curriculum, but also draw on their own personal experiences and passion for Avalanche awareness to prepare you for your own adventures.
Upon completion of this class, you will be certified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education - a globally recognized organization whose mission is to "Save Lives through Avalanche Awareness."
Whether you plan to be in the backcountry this winter snowmobiling, skiing, climbing or snowshoeing, you need this knowledge to play safely in snow-covered mountains.
All avalanche equipment for this course will be provided by SMG, however you are encouraged to bring your own. SMG also has Mammut Shovel/Beacon/Probe packages for sale at a discounted price for AIARE students: a great opportunity to equip yourself and learn with the actual gear you will be using when you are out on your own!
2016/2017 Course Dates:
December 29-31, 2016
January 6-8, 2017
February 11-13, 2017
February 18-20, 2017
March 10-12, 2017
Cost: $400 per person
Payment in full is due at the time of the reservation
AIARE Level 1 Course Overview:
The Level 1 is a three day(24 hours) introduction to avalanche hazard management. The course is expected to:
Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
Focus on identifying the right questions, rather than on providing “answers.”
Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.
Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).
A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE Level 2 course.
At the end of the Level 1 course the student should be able to:
Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain
Recognize avalanche terrain
Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain
Learn and apply effective companion rescue
Instructional sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction):
1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
Types and characteristics of avalanches
The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
2. Observations and Information Gathering
Field observation techniques
Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test
Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
Avalanche danger scale
3. Trip Planning and Preparation
Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
Route finding and travel techniques
Decision making and Human Factors
4. Companion Rescue and Equipment
No previous experience is required. Appropriate physical and mental fitness is necessary. Participants will be required to perform physically strenuous activities.
Custom dates are also available, please fill out our contact form or call the office at 603-733-8416 for more information.
Required equipment for all avalanche courses:
Long underwear top and bottom
Fleece or softshell pants
Hard shell (Gore-Tex or other waterproof/breathable) pants/bibs and jacket
Puffy coat (synthetic or down)
1 pr. approach/lightweight gloves
1 pr. warm waterproof gloves or mitts
Day pack (approx. 3000 cu. in)
Headlamp with extra batteries
2 liters of water or thermos
Lunch and snacks for each day
Alpine touring or Telemark skis or Splitboard with skins, or Snowboard and snowshoes, or just snowshoes.
Optional: Repair kit, camera, altimeter watch, first aid kit, Mt. Washington map, compass
We will supply you with beacon, probe and shovel, but if you have your own, please let us know. You will also be receiving from us an AIARE Field Book and the AIARE Level 1 Student Manual.