AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course Washington

Learn essential skills to make sound decisions in avalanche terrain and be a great backcountry skiing partner. This program is greater than the sum of it's parts! We'll start with a comprehensive day of avalanche rescue that will leave you prepared to deal with a real emergency. After a full rescue course, we have 2 full field days left for the rest of the AIARE 1 curriculum. This means we have 25% more time in the field than normal AIARE 1 courses for critical topics including snowpack and weather observations, terrain evaluation, decision-making, human factors and travel techniques.
Overview
Itinerary
Prerequisites
Inclusions
Gear

Why our AIARE 1 + Rescue Offers more than taking AIARE 1 and a Rescue Course Separately

AIARE 1 is a 24 hour program, typically with 8 of those hours devoted to classroom study. Of the remaining 16 hours, eight is typically devoted to planning and executing a ski tour and 4 is for a snow pit, observations, terrain, decision making, etc (full list below), and 4 is for avalanche rescue practice. Our AIARE 1 + Rescue adds a day of field work, which not only provides more comprehensive rescue training, but it allows us to cover the rest of critical the AIARE 1 topics in much more depth than a normal AIARE 1 course since none of the 16 hours devoted to AIARE 1 time are used for rescue practice (there is a full day for this built in!). You'll walk away with:

  • Vastly superior avalanche rescue skills
  • More firsthand knowledge of terrain, snowpack and observations.

We'll cover the following topics and skills:

AIARE Rescue Course

  • What to do if you're caught in an avalanche
  • What to do if your partner is caught in an avalanche
  • How to use your beacon, shovel and probe
  • Rescue equipment technology
  • Rescue techniques for companion and small team rescue
  • How terrain affects an avalanche rescue and how to use terrain to your advantage
  • Visual search, transceiver search and spot probing
  • Strategies for using your gear effectively
AIARE 1 Course
  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Avalanche Problems
  • Trip Planning
  • Snow and Weather Observations
  • Terrain Choice
  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
  • Trailhead Departure Check
  • Route Finding
  • Track Setting
  • Descent Choices

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 either the Friday after the first Field Day (for weekend courses) or Monday after the first Field Day (for weekday courses)

  • Field Day 1 - AIARE Rescue - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:00-3:30pm end time.

  • Field Day 2 - AIARE 1 - 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

  • Field Day 3 - AIARE 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 2, 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
  • Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Permit
  • Interactive Online Course with lifetime access
  • AIARE Field Book (a $30 value)
  • AIARE Certification/Student Fees (a $35 value)
  • Group Safety Gear - Snow Science, First Aid Kits
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal, in compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Ski/Splitboard Gear
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Winter Parking Passes
  • Guide Gratuities

Washington Backcountry Skiing Gear List


Know Before you go

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

Price $815.00
Private Programs
Duration: 3.5 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

Day 1: Avalanche Rescue

8:00 am  Meet your guide at The Trailhead.  Open with introductions, gear-up and tour into the rescue zone.  We’ll begin with covering gear and fundamental skills before moving into an instructor rescue demo and participant-led scenarios.

3:00-3:30 pm  We'll wind down the program to tour to the trailhead and debrief the major learning lessons of the day.

7:00-9:00 pm  Webinar to cover AIARE 1 Avalanche Course content.  We may choose to do this section in person depending on where participants are staying for the evening, weather and other factors that will be worked out with the team.

 

Day 2: AIARE 1: Observations & Snowpack Tests

8:00 am  Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. The day will center around observations, assessment of weather and snowpack, and evaluating and moving through or near avalanche terrain.

3:30pm  We will close the day with a margin of daylight remaining when we hit the trailhead.  Safely back at the cars, we’ll review the day and debrief the decisions we made.  Debriefs are very helpful for building useful experience quickly!

 

Day 3: AIARE 1: Backcountry Tour

8:00 am  Meet your guide at the trailhead, ready with weather and avalanche hazard forecasts.  We’ll review the plan for the day, including a discussion of the day’s avalanche problem, the proposed route up and options for the ascent and descent.  The guide will facilitate a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.

8:30 am  We’ll begin the tour, making decisions based on our trip plan, weather forecast and the avalanche advisory for the day.  Along the way, we’ll make snowpack and weather observations and open discussions on where we should go and how we should travel. Your guide will provide insights and foster sound decision making as the group navigates the challenges of the terrain, snowpack and weather.  

3:30 pm  We will once again close the program with a margin of daylight remaining when we hit the trailhead and we’ll debrief the day.  Once we’ve covered the decisions and outcomes of the day, we’ll close the course with thoughts on the best ways to move forward with your backcountry progression! 

Why our AIARE 1 + Rescue Offers more than taking AIARE 1 and a Rescue Course Separately

AIARE 1 is a 24 hour program, typically with 8 of those hours devoted to classroom study. Of the remaining 16 hours, eight is typically devoted to planning and executing a ski tour and 4 is for a snow pit, observations, terrain, decision making, etc (full list below), and 4 is for avalanche rescue practice. Our AIARE 1 + Rescue adds a day of field work, which not only provides more comprehensive rescue training, but it allows us to cover the rest of critical the AIARE 1 topics in much more depth than a normal AIARE 1 course since none of the 16 hours devoted to AIARE 1 time are used for rescue practice (there is a full day for this built in!). You'll walk away with:

  • Vastly superior avalanche rescue skills
  • More firsthand knowledge of terrain, snowpack and observations.

We'll cover the following topics and skills:

AIARE Rescue Course

  • What to do if you're caught in an avalanche
  • What to do if your partner is caught in an avalanche
  • How to use your beacon, shovel and probe
  • Rescue equipment technology
  • Rescue techniques for companion and small team rescue
  • How terrain affects an avalanche rescue and how to use terrain to your advantage
  • Visual search, transceiver search and spot probing
  • Strategies for using your gear effectively
AIARE 1 Course
  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Avalanche Problems
  • Trip Planning
  • Snow and Weather Observations
  • Terrain Choice
  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
  • Trailhead Departure Check
  • Route Finding
  • Track Setting
  • Descent Choices

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 either the Friday after the first Field Day (for weekend courses) or Monday after the first Field Day (for weekday courses)

  • Field Day 1 - AIARE Rescue - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:00-3:30pm end time.

  • Field Day 2 - AIARE 1 - 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

  • Field Day 3 - AIARE 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 2, 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
  • Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Permit
  • Interactive Online Course with lifetime access
  • AIARE Field Book (a $30 value)
  • AIARE Certification/Student Fees (a $35 value)
  • Group Safety Gear - Snow Science, First Aid Kits
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal, in compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Ski/Splitboard Gear
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Winter Parking Passes
  • Guide Gratuities

Washington Backcountry Skiing Gear List

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Epic Reviews From Adventurers

8 reviews
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Super informative and made me feel a lot safer!

    I did the avy rescue course + AIARE 1 last week. Zeb was the instructor for the first day where we focused on avalanche rescue specifics. It was super informative and made me feel a lot safer about venturing into the backcountry. Zeb was really easy to listen to and learn from. The 2nd day was out in the field with John, who was an amazing instructor. He was super patient with us and extremely knowledgeable. We've gone out and done two expeditions since finishing the course last week, and I could not be more grateful for what we learned and the experience we had with Zeb and John.

    Nick C.
    Flag of United States
    AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Highly recommend the AIARE 1 + rescue class!

    Couldn’t be happier with my experience with Blackbird Mountain Guides. Had a great weekend of learning and adventure. Highly recommend the AIARE 1 + rescue class. Andrew was an excellent teacher and guide.

    Jamison L.
    Flag of United States
    AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Online and field portions of the program were highly educational. Terrific experience!

    I completed my AIARE 1 plus Rescue course with Blackbird in early 2022. Zeb was an awesome guide/instructor - very professional and also a great guy. The program covered a lot of info over three days. Both the online and field portions of the program were highly educational. Thanks for a terrific experience!!!

    Sean M.
    Flag of United States
    AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Educational and engaging

    The training was full of anecdotes and experiences from our guides John and Bill. They kept everyone engaged and really kept us thinking instead of just taking us through the motions.

    Alan Q.
    Verified Buyer
    AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
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