Often the most valuable time on an AIARE Level 1 course is the last day (the tour day), when students have the opportunity to travel in avalanche terrain, make decisions as a group, and apply what they’ve learned over the previous two days.
A Terrain Day is simply an add-on tour day, offering additional opportunity for student-led decision making in avalanche terrain, alongside an AIARE Instructor. We recommend this option for students who have recently completed an AIARE Level 1 course (within the last year).
The AIARE Level 1 Refresher Course is a field-based review of the AIARE Level 1 curriculum as a whole, including companion rescue, and a short afternoon tour. We recommend this option for students who have taken an AIARE Level 1 course in the last 1-3 years.
This day will be very similar to the last day of our AIARE Level 1 Course:
On this last day of the course we tie it all together with a full day tour in avalanche terrain, making real life decisions. We’ll start the day with a brief planning session, looking at the current avalanche bulletin and weather forecast.
Our goal will be to cover a good variety of terrain while integrating additional lessons into the day, including methods for quickly gathering information, travel techniques and group management, and applying the Decision Making Framework in a real world context.
Throughout the day the instructor(s) will step back into a facilitator role and allow students to work through key decisions as a group.
The course will wrap up with a presentation of certificates and a closing discussion of where to go from here.
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.
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
We have a limited number of transceivers, shovels, and probes available for students to use, courtesy of Backcountry Access. Please make arrangements with us in advance.
☐ 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 within the last 1-2 years.
- Intermediate skiing or riding ability is recommended.
- Participants interested in taking the course on snowshoes or cross-country gear should contact us.
- Good physical fitness is required for this course.
- Participants should be prepared to spend full days in adverse winter weather conditions.
- Guiding & instruction
- Group safety equipment: First aid, radio/sat phone, rescue sled, shelter, etc.
- Food, lodging & transportation
- Personal equipment
WHERE TO MEET
Olympic National Park Visitors Center, in Port Angeles, WA.
Option A: Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From here the drive to Port Angeles takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Option B: Fly into Port Angeles. Kenmore Air flies daily from Sea-Tac and is an Alaska Airlines partner (domestic flights can be booked with Port Angeles as the destination).
Many options exist in Sea-Tac. There’s also a Budget Rent-A-Car in Port Angeles.
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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