AIARE 1 Avalanche Course in Washington

Our AIARE 1 Avalanche Course features two full days in the field and an interactive online course built by Blackbird Mountain Guides. It provides a foundation for assessing and managing avalanche hazard as well as finding the best turns in the backcountry!

Overview
Itinerary
Prerequisites
Inclusions
Gear

We'll cover the following topics and skills:

  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Avalanche Problems
  • Trip Planning
  • Snow and Weather Observations
  • How to Practice Small Team Avalanche Rescue
  • Terrain Choice
  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
  • Trailhead Departure Check
  • Route Finding
  • Track Setting
  • Descent Choices

*Early season courses (Nov 24-Dec 9) are snowfall and conditions dependent. We will let students know 10-14 days ahead of their course date if there is a chance it will not run. If are unable to run the course, students can reschedule to a later date at no cost. Keep in mind however, that courses fill up fast, and we may not be able to reschedule you until later in the season!

Here's the schedule for your course:

  • 6 Hour Online Course - can be completed any time prior to the pre-field webinar

  • 2 Hour Pre-Field Zoom Webinar - 7:00-9:00pm the Thursday before the field days

  • Field Day 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after the pre-field webinar, based on weather and snow conditions

  • Field Day 2 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 1, based on weather and snow conditions

Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

  • Advanced Resort Riding skills - Including off-piste terrain in challenging snow conditions

  • Basic Backcountry Touring Skills - Including familiarity with equipment and avalanche gear

  • Basic Fitness - Able to spend an active day outside, moving uphill at 1,000’ per hour for durations of roughly 1 hour between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 3-5 miles and climb 1,000-1,500 vertical feet throughout the course of the day.

  • Ski/Split Touring & Avalanche Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us
  • Shop Recommended Gear OR Visit our Rentals Page

Here's what's included with your course:

  • Experienced AMGA/AIARE Trained Guide
  • Interactive multi-media curriculum
  • Lifetime access to our Online Course materials
  • Group safety gear - your guide will be equipped with snow science tools and a first aid kit
  • Wag bags for human waste disposal - in with compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Ski/Splitboard Gear
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Guide Gratuities

Ski/Split Touring Gear

  • Alpine Touring Ski or Splitboard Setup - No snowshoes
  • Alpine Touring or Splitboard Boots
  • Climbing Skins
  • Touring Backpack - with pockets for avalanche gear
  • Adjustable Touring Poles
Avalanche Safety Gear
  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Avalanche Shovel
  • Avalanche Probe
Clothing & Accessories
  • Technical Outerwear (jacket, bibs/pants)
  • Multiple Midlayer Options
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Beanie
  • Baseball Cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle / Hydration Pack (2L)
  • Lunch and Snacks

  • Know Before you go

    SKILL LEVELTouring Experience
    ELEVATION3,000’-6,000’
    LocationSnoqualmie - Mt Baker

    Price $625.00
    Private Programs
    Duration: 2.5 Days
    View Full Itinerary
    Private Programs

    Blackbird Mountain Guides offers both scheduled group programs and private programs.

    Private programs are simply above and beyond what Blackbird Mountain Guides currently has scheduled. Scheduled courses are not always less expensive. Before booking a trip with Blackbird Mountain Guides, clients are encouraged to review the differences between these types of programs, and to decide what works best for them.

    SCHEDULED PROGRAMS

    Scheduled Programs have fixed dates, itineraries, objectives, curriculum, and costs. They typically appeal to solo individuals or small groups or who are looking to share the cost of their program with a larger group. Correspondingly, scheduled programs are less expensive for smaller groups (1-2), and they provide the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. If you have a large group (3+), Scheduled programs will often be more expensive. They can fill up quickly, and scheduling flexibility is obviously limited.

    Scheduled programs will have advertised dates. All scheduled programs can be run as private programs with private dates/rates as well.

    PRIVATE PROGRAMS

    Private programs have scheduling freedom. They typically appeal to those who would like some flexibility in planning their own trip or course. In this regard, Itineraries and objectives can be tailored to suit current conditions as well as client goals. Private programs are normally less expensive for larger groups (3+). If you have a small group (1-2) private programs will be more expensive.

    Contact us
    Full Itinerary

    Online Coursework (6 hours)

    Immediately after signing up for Blackbird AIARE 1, you can begin learning. Take the Online Coursework whenever it makes sense for you.  You’ll need roughly 6 hours to complete this portion of the course.  This education is for your own development and understanding, so study hard and come up with some good questions for your instructor.  The more knowledge you have before you arrive to the field, the more you and your fellow participants will get out of the course.  

    Please take notes and write down questions as you progress through the online coursework so that we can review them in the “Pre-Field Webinar.”
     

    Pre-Field Webinar (2 hours)

    Before the course, you’ll be invited to a “Pre-Field Webinar” where you avalanche instructor will tie the lessons of the online coursework together with some fun and helpful exercises.  After that, there will be time available for questions.

     

    Field Day 1: Avalanche Rescue and Field Observations

    8:00 am  Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the avalanche problem for the day, the proposed route up and options for the ascent and descent.  The guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.

    8:30 am  Tour to a zone where we can make snowpack observations pertinent to the current avalanche problem, including a Snow Pit.

    12:30 pm  Tour to a zone that is appropriate for practicing small team avalanche rescue.  

    3:30 pm  We will close the program at the trailhead with a quick review of the skills that we learned, a synopsis of the avalanche observations that we made and an overview of what to expect the following day in the field. 

     

    Field Day 2: Ski Tour with Avalanche Observations and Decision Making

    8:00 am  We’ll meet at the trailhead for our objective and students will lead us through the weather overnight and forecast for the day, the current avalanche advisory, our route plan and options, an emergency action plan and perform the trailhead beacon check.  

    Throughout the day we will practice the skills that we’ve learned throughout the program in real time to execute our tour in good style.  We’ll practice gathering observations, prioritizing information and making decisions with our teams.

    3:30 pm  We’ll regroup at the trailhead to debrief the tour and discuss the lessons of the day.  Then we will close out the program by providing some guidance on good choices for your next steps in avalanche education and ski touring progression.

     

    We'll cover the following topics and skills:

    • Mountain Snowpack
    • Mountain Weather
    • The Avalanche Problems
    • Trip Planning
    • Snow and Weather Observations
    • How to Practice Small Team Avalanche Rescue
    • Terrain Choice
    • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
    • Trailhead Departure Check
    • Route Finding
    • Track Setting
    • Descent Choices

    *Early season courses (Nov 24-Dec 9) are snowfall and conditions dependent. We will let students know 10-14 days ahead of their course date if there is a chance it will not run. If are unable to run the course, students can reschedule to a later date at no cost. Keep in mind however, that courses fill up fast, and we may not be able to reschedule you until later in the season!

    Here's the schedule for your course:

    • 6 Hour Online Course - can be completed any time prior to the pre-field webinar

    • 2 Hour Pre-Field Zoom Webinar - 7:00-9:00pm the Thursday before the field days

    • Field Day 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after the pre-field webinar, based on weather and snow conditions

    • Field Day 2 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 1, based on weather and snow conditions

    Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

    • Advanced Resort Riding skills - Including off-piste terrain in challenging snow conditions

    • Basic Backcountry Touring Skills - Including familiarity with equipment and avalanche gear

    • Basic Fitness - Able to spend an active day outside, moving uphill at 1,000’ per hour for durations of roughly 1 hour between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 3-5 miles and climb 1,000-1,500 vertical feet throughout the course of the day.

    • Ski/Split Touring & Avalanche Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us
    • Shop Recommended Gear OR Visit our Rentals Page

    Here's what's included with your course:

    • Experienced AMGA/AIARE Trained Guide
    • Interactive multi-media curriculum
    • Lifetime access to our Online Course materials
    • Group safety gear - your guide will be equipped with snow science tools and a first aid kit
    • Wag bags for human waste disposal - in with compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
    Not Included
    • Ski/Splitboard Gear
    • Avalanche Gear
    • Guide Gratuities

    Ski/Split Touring Gear

    • Alpine Touring Ski or Splitboard Setup - No snowshoes
    • Alpine Touring or Splitboard Boots
    • Climbing Skins
    • Touring Backpack - with pockets for avalanche gear
    • Adjustable Touring Poles
    Avalanche Safety Gear
    • Avalanche Beacon
    • Avalanche Shovel
    • Avalanche Probe
    Clothing & Accessories
  • Technical Outerwear (jacket, bibs/pants)
  • Multiple Midlayer Options
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Beanie
  • Baseball Cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle / Hydration Pack (2L)
  • Lunch and Snacks
  • Epic Reviews From Adventurers

    75 reviews
    • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
      Can't imagine a better experience!

      Had a really awesome time doing my AIARE 1 with Jason at Blackbird Mountain Guides. Couldn't have imagined a better experience--learned a ton and got some really great skiing in along the way!

      Trent R.
      Flag of United States
      AIARE 1 Avalanche Course in Tahoe
    • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
      5/5 Avy Course!

      5/5 Avy Course!

      Weiqi Z.
      Flag of United States
      AIARE 1 Avalanche Course in Tahoe
    • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
      Fantastic instruction and guidance!

      My group did a private AIARE Level One course with Mark and received fantastic instruction and guidance. Mark was attentive to what we wanted to learn while following the AIARE 1 curriculum. He brought a great level of stoke throughout the 2 days and inspired us to build good backcountry habits while having fun. Furthermore, Zeb the business owner worked closely with us to accommodate the group, follow COVID policies and meet our needs. I would highly recommend Blackbird for an AIARE course and will certainly sign on with them for future adventures.

      Eli Y.
      Flag of United States
      AIARE 1 Avalanche Course in Tahoe
    • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
      Consider Blackbird Guides for AIARE courses in Snoqualmie pass!

      Brandon, our instructor, was very thoughtful and never got tired of giving his full effort to passing along his knowledge, answering our questions and identifying our weaknesses. if you're looking to take the course in Washington near Snoqualmie pass, you should consider BB mountain guide and ask for Brandon

      Albaraa H.
      Flag of United States
      AIARE 1 Avalanche Course in Washington
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