AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course | Washington
Build the skills that could allow you to save your partners life in the event of an avalanche burial. Our Avalanche Rescue Course is designed to provide the skills that you need to perform an effective rescue in the event of a full avalanche burial. We offer options at Mt Baker and Snoqualmie Pass.
Here are some of the benefits of our Avalanche Rescue Course:
- Build Foundational Skills. We start with the basics: what to do if you or your partner is caught in an avalanche. Then we cover the critical skills you need to enact an effective avalanche rescue: beacon and visual search, probing the victim, and strategically digging them out.
- Instructor Demonstration. After we've built a solid foundation of skills, we'll demonstrate what they look like in real-time by performing a rescue in a scenario set up by the participants.
- Participant Scenarios. The cornerstone of the Avalanche Rescue Course is getting to practice with the mentorship and coaching of an experienced AIARE Avalanche Instructor. We start with simple scenarios and build to more complex ones as we gain confidence in our skills. We aim to maximize time performing scenarios to gain as much experience as possible throughout the day.
- Mt Baker and Snoqualmie Pass are ideal venues for this program, providing access to a great range of terrain for scenarios. Variety in the terrain lends itself to learning important lessons about how the terrain affects an avalanche rescue.
- Experienced AIARE Course Leaders. Our team has a deep understanding of the Washington snowpack, and our experience is drawn from seasons of backcountry ski guiding, performing avalanche control as ski patrollers, and instructing avalanche courses. All of our avalanche courses are taught by certified AIARE instructors and course leaders.
Private Programs available! This program is perfect for getting you and your ski partners or small team up to speed on avalanche rescue. Contact us today to pick a private date for your group!
The topics that will be covered are:
- 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
You can take the Avalanche Rescue Course before or after the AIARE 1 Avalanche Course.
We require that you:
- Are Proficient at Using Your Touring Gear. We will teach you how to use the Avalanche Rescue Tools, but if you are not proficient with your touring gear, consider taking Introduction to Backcountry Skiing. It is an excellent way to gain a basic understanding of ski touring equipment.
- Can ride Advanced Terrain at a ski resort. The course venue offers challenging terrain and snow conditions, and it is important that riders have an advanced riding ability to manage highly variable snow conditions while using their avalanche rescue gear.
- Have Appropriate Gear. Alpine touring skis and bindings or splitboards are required since we may choose to skin during the program during our searches. In addition to your AT skis or splitboard, you must have modern and functional avalanche rescue tools, including:
- Digital Beacon (newer than 5 years old or recently checked by the manufacturer)
- High Quality Aluminum Shovel (plastic blades often break in dense snow and/or avalanche debris)
- High Quality Probe (modern, quick-draw style)
- You can also rent Avalanche Gear from us for your course
PricesSee Sidebar for current pricing.
AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course Itinerary
8:30 am Meet your guide
9:00 am Cover fundamental skills
10:30am -3:00pm Instructor rescue demo and participant led scenarios
3:00-3:30 Course close
Gear Guide / Packing List
Backcountry Touring Gear
❏ Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”
❏ Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1
❏ Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,
❏ Touring Backpack - A Pack with Avalanche Tools Pocket; BD Cirque 35
❏ Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles
❏ Ski Helmet - Lightweight S
RENT a the full Avalanche Gear Kit from Blackbird
❏ Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT
❏ Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel
❏ Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300
Head and Neck Layers
❏ Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat
❏ Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield
❏ Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive
❏ Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet;
❏ Neck Gaiters - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks
***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings
Upper Body and Hand Layers
❏ Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody
❏ 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & Nano Air
❏ Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar
❏ Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL
❏ Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour
❏ Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend
❏ Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic;
Lower Body and Foot Layers
❏ Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata
❏ Underwear - Wool/Synthetic
❏ Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”; Patagonia Capilene Air
❏ Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant for Fair Weather; OR Trailbreaker II
❏ Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather; Flylow Compound
Food and Water
❏ Nalgene Water Bottle - Hard Sided Bottle; Nalgene 16oz-32oz Wide Mouth Bottle
❏ Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L
***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.
❏ Snacks - Enough Snacks for the Day. There will be no lunch break so snacks must be
convenient and easy to eat.
❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)
❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)
❏ Hand Sanitizer
❏ Toilet Paper
❏ First Aid/blister Kit
❏ Chemical Hand Warmers
❏ Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus
Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:
✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits
✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)
✓ Snow Observation Equipment (Snowsaws, Loops, Crystal Cards, Etc)
Know Before You Go
The Blackbird AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course requires moderate physical exertion and the ability to ski off piste terrain proficiently.
Price IncludesExpert Instruction from our AIARE Certified Guides
We highly recommend Trip Insurance. Cancellation & Rescheduling Policy.
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