AIARE Level 1 Refresher Course
Our one-day AIARE Level 1 Refresher Course is designed to help you stay practiced and current with your avalanche skills. Open to students who have previously taken an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course, the refresher is an excellent opportunity to improve your understanding of snow, avalanches, terrain, human factors, decision making, and companion rescue.
Avalanche safety and risk management is a rapidly evolving field, and as AIARE instructors we are able to remain current with the latest research, information, and techniques. As a skier, snowboarder, climber, hiker, or snowshoer, we recommend attending a refresher course every 2-3 years.
• Current equipment technology
• Trip planning
• Decision making
• Terrain identification
• Observation methods including snow pits
• Human factors
• Companion rescue
*Note: If you’ve taken a non-AIARE avalanche course, we recommend taking an AIARE Level 1 before attending this refresher. While this course is open to anyone who has taken a Level 1 course, many of the concepts we’ll cover are AIARE specific.
We meet at the Olympic National Park Visitor Information Center for introductions and carpooling arrangements. Our day will begin with a brief indoor session at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center, followed by companion rescue practice.
In the afternoon we’ll head out on a short tour, reviewing concepts along the way such as terrain identification, decision making, group management, human factors, travel techniques, and observation methods.
The course will wrap up with a debrief and course closing
AIARE LEVEL 1 REFRESHER COURSE
Need rental gear? Transceivers, shovels, and probes are available for avalanche students to use free of charge, but please make arrangements with us in advance. Information on where to rent other equipment (such as AT or tele gear) is available on our Rental Gear page.
☐ Notebook & pencil
METHOD OF WINTER TRAVEL
☐ Options: skis (AT or tele), splitboard, or snowshoes*: Should be suitable for uphill and downhill travel.
☐ Boots: AT or tele boots, snowboard boots, or winter boots suitable for snowshoeing.
☐ Poles: Adjustable recommended.
☐ Climbing skins: For AT, tele, and splitboard setups.
* Note: Cross country ski gear will not work for this course.
AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR
☐ Transceiver: Modern, single frequency [457 khz] transceiver, preferably less than five years old. A digital 3-antennae model is highly recommended (ex: BCA Tracker 2, Mammut Pulse Barryvox, Peips DSP).
☐ Shovel: Lightweight avalanche shovel. A metal blade is recommended (avoid plastic), as well as an extendable handle (ex: G3 Avitech, BCA Companion EXT).
☐ Probe: Dedicated probe, ski pole probes are not sufficient.
☐ Daypack: 25-40 liters, should have some form of ski/board attachment system.
There are many possible layering combinations for your upper body. Use the following recommendations as guidelines:
☐ Baselayer top: Light to medium weight synthetic fabric (ex: Patagonia Capiline 1 or 2).
☐ Lightweight insulating layer: Light fleece or synthetic layer (ex: Patagonia R1 Hoody).
☐ Softshell or shell jacket with hood: For wind, snow, rain, cold, etc.
☐ Puffy (insulated) jacket: Synthetic or down, preferably with a hood (ex: Patagonia Micro Puff).
☐ Baselayer bottoms: Light to medium weight (ex: Patagonia Capiline 2).
☐ Ski pants/bibs: Hard shell or softshell.
☐ Socks: Wool or synthetic, they should work well with your ski boots. Keep in mind that warmth comes from good circulation, not heavy socks.
☐ Warm hat
☐ Sun hat: Baseball cap/visor (weather dependent).
☐ Face protection: Buff® recommended.
☐ Light gloves
☐ Ski gloves
☐ Sunscreen: SPF 30 or greater, avoid spray on (ex: Doc Martin’s of Maui).
☐ Lip balm: With SPF protection.
☐ Water bottles(s) or hydration system: Water bottles should have a screw top (no bike bottles); hydration system should have an insulated tube.
☐ Thermos (optional)
If you have any of the following items, please bring them:
☐ Airbag pack
☐ Snow saw
☐ Snow study kit
• Crystal card
• Magnifying loupe
• Folding ruler
☐ Ski strap
☐ Repair kit: We suggest carrying a small repair kit with items specific to your ski or splitboard equipment. Extra binding parts (including mounting screws), an extra tip loop for your skins, an extra pole basket, etc. Other great MacGyver items are bailing wire, zip ties, and duct tape.
☐ Watch: Altimeter recommended.
- AIARE Level 1 course or equivalent (3 days, 24 hours) – if you’ve previously attended a non-AIARE avalanche course, we recommend taking a full AIARE Level 1 in lieu of this refresher.
- Some experience skiing, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, etc. in avalanche terrain.
- Experience traveling on skis (AT or tele), splitboard, or snowshoes is recommended.
- Good physical fitness is required for this course.
- Participants should be prepared to spend a full day in adverse winter weather conditions.
- Full day of guiding and instruction in Olympic National Park
- AIARE course materials
- Food, lodging & transportation
- Park entrance fee (free with a park pass or $5)
WHERE TO MEET
Olympic National Park Visitors Center in Port Angeles, WA. Participants will receive an email the week before the course with final logistics.
Flights: Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From here the drive to Port Angeles takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Car Rental: Many options exist in Sea-Tac. There’s also a Budget Rent-A-Car in Port Angeles.
- Olympic Bus Lines offers twice daily shuttles from Sea-Tac to Port Angeles.
- Rocket Transportation offers door to door service between Sea-Tac and Port Angeles by reservation.
Many options exist in Port Angeles including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels.
Check out our Weather & Avalanche Resources page.
- Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper.
- Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering by Martin Volkin, Scott Schell, and Margaret Wheeler.
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