AIARE 1 Avalanche Education Course

Synnott Mountain Guides offers AIARE 1 courses in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The AIARE 1 course is an introduction and review of the avalanche phenomena, travel techniques, decision making strategies, and avalanche rescue. Photo: A large crown line from an avalanche in Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington.

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. The AIARE 1 course is a 3 day introduction to avalanche hazard management. Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry 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). Upon finishing the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion and be ready to move onto more advanced courses.

The Synnott Mountain Guides AIARE classes are organized and led by:

  • Mark Synnott: AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide with over 30 years of experience working and playing in avalanche terrain.
  • Nick Aiello-Popeo: AIARE 3 Certified & AIARE Instructor.

Mark, Nick, and the other 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.

The AIARE 1 course costs $400 and all avalanche equipment will be provided by SMG (however you are encouraged to bring your own). SMG also has shovel/beacon/probe packages for sale at a discounted price for course participants, a great opportunity to equip yourself and learn with the actual gear you will be using when you are out on your own! The course is best booked online, but you may also book via email or phone. You may book multiple people and pay in one order, but please complete this booking form for each person so we have full details.

Thanks for a great winter 2017/2018 season. To be notified about winter 2018/2019 AIARE 1 dates: stay tuned to this page, signup for the email newsletter, contact us, or follow us on Facebook.

 

Course Information

If you have a group and would like to setup a custom AIARE I course, please contact us.

The AIARE 1 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.

At the end of the AIARE 1 course the student should be able to:

  • Develop a plan for travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify avalanche terrain.
  • Effectively use the AIARE Decision Making Framework to make terrain choices in a group setting
  • Demonstrate effective companion rescue.
Instructional sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction):

1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena

  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • 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”
  • Observation checklist
  • 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

Prerequisites

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. There are no other prerequisites.

Required equipment for all avalanche courses:
  • Ski socks
  • Long underwear top and bottom
  • Fleece or softshell pants
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Hard shell (Gore-Tex or other waterproof/breathable) pants/bibs and jacket
  • Puffy coat (synthetic or down)
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava/neck warmer
  • 1 pr. approach/lightweight gloves
  • 1 pr. warm waterproof gloves or mitts
  • Goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Day pack (approx. 3000 cu. in)
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • 2 liters of water or thermos
  • Lunch and snacks for each day
  • Lip balm
  • Sun screen
  • Alpine touring or Telemark skis or Splitboard with skins, or Snowboard and snowshoes, or just snowshoes.
  • Ski Boots
  • Ski poles
  • Helmet
Optional equipment:
  • 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 1 Student Manual.

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

Conditions permitting, this course will take place in a variety of terrain on Mount Washington. We may also utilize other steep/open terrain in the White Mountains such as Crawford Notch.

Difficulty

Beginner - Advanced

Length

3 Days

Season

Winter

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