Avalanche Education

Increase your margin of safety while traveling in the avalanche terrain on Mount Washington and other parts of the White Mountains with avalanche education options from Synnott Mountain Guides. Photo: The avalanche advisory board from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center below Tuckerman Ravine.

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to Save Lives through Avalanche Awareness. Whether you plan to be in the backcountry this winter skiing, climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, you need this knowledge to play safely in snow covered mountains. Synnott Mountain Guides offers a variety of AIARE courses.

These courses are part of AIARE's Recreational Avalanche Training program called Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain. Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain is a three-part program for individuals who enjoy winter recreation in the backcountry. Over the course of this program, participants will learn:

  • How to prepare for backcountry travel with seasonal and daily routines.
  • How to use planning tools and checklists to facilitate communicating and making decisions as a group in order to reduce risk.
  • How to do a companion rescue.
  • Techniques to continue to improve their rescue skills after a course completion.

The entire Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program includes a variety of classroom time, field days, and self-paced online training. The curriculum is typically delivered in the following parts:  Avalanche Rescue,  the AIARE 1, and the AIARE 2. Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain is for ANYONE, regardless of method of travel, who wants to recreate in or near avalanche terrain. Aspiring professionals will also need to take the AIARE 1 and AIARE Avalanche Rescue as a prerequisite for the Pro 1 course.

Our latest AIARE course offerings are listed below, if you have any questions, please call or email. For updates or future notifications about AIARE Avalanche Education courses, please sign up for our email list or follow us on Facebook.

AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a 1 day stand alone course that is intended to be retaken on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. This course is geared both at new and experienced recreational backcountry travelers and aspiring avalanche professionals. Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2. During the 2023/2024 season, we have 6 courses running from late December to early March.


AIARE 1 is a 3 day course that provides an introduction to using decision making tools to help a group manage risk while traveling in avalanche terrain. For the Winter 2023/2024 season, we have courses running from mid December to early April (on both weekdays and weekends). We are also offering this course in two formats:

The Standard AIARE 1 course consists of 1 in-person classroom day and 2 days in the field.

The hybrid AIARE 1 course consists of an online learning module, a Zoom lesson/meeting, and 2 days in the field.


AIARE 2 is a 3 day course for those who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The AIARE 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to  advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills by applying their skills to new terrain and situations. Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2. It is highly recommended that participants gain at least one season’s worth of backcountry travel experience between taking the AIARE 1 and the AIARE 2. For the 2023/2024 season, our AIARE 2 course takes place from February 23-25, 2024 with additional online learning and a Zoom meeting/training before the course.