ARC Avalanche Rescue Course - Private

The Blackbird ARC is an AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) that steps up the game. We provide lift access to avalanche terrain to get you more skills, in real terrain with less time spent on the approach.
ARC Avalanche Rescue Course - Private

The Blackbird ARC is an AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) that steps up the game.  We provide lift access to avalanche terrain to get you more skills, in real terrain with less time spent on the approach.  

This is a unique program pioneered by Blackbird Mountain Guides that uses ski lifts to propel us into the alpine where we can get right into avalanche rescue, instead of devoting hours to approaching the practice area.

  • Excellent Online Content.  Our online course includes content curated by our expert staff and a live webinar with a Blackbird Avalanche Course Leader.  
  • Access to the Lessons after the course.  Everyone comes out of traditional avalanche courses feeling full of knowledge, but two weeks later they begin scratching their heads, wondering what they had discussed and learned during their course.  With the Blackbird A1, you always have access to the online program to review the lessons whenever you feel the need to brush up.
  • Top notch AIARE Avalanche Course Leaders.  Our course leaders are some of Tahoe's most experienced snow experts and instructors.  We have lived and breathed  the Tahoe snowpack (thankfully not literally) and have years of experience guiding, performing avalanche control at Class A ski resorts and instructing courses.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Rescue techniques for companion and small team rescue

  • Rescue Equipment Technology

  • Strategies for using your gear effectively.

Requisite Experience 

Blackbird highly recommends taking the Blackbird A1 BEFORE taking the ARC.  It prepares you better and makes it so all of the participants have a similar level of understanding at the onset of the program.  The A1 is not a mandatory prerequisite, so please don't let this recommendation dissuade you if you have had some exposure to these concepts and are confident that you will not burden other participants.

We do 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.
  • Can ride Advanced Terrain at a ski resort.  The course venue may be in fairly benign terrain, but it is important that riders have an advanced riding ability to manage the highly variable snow conditions we experience in the backcountry.  These conditions are typically very different from those found at ski resorts, even in off-piste resort terrain.
  • Have Appropriate Gear.  Ski touring bindings or splitboards are much more functional than snowshoes.  Please do not plan on using snowshoes during this course as it can impede the progress of the team.  Likewise, a safety concern for the team is having functional avalanche 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 avalanche debris)
    • High Quality Probe (modern, quick-draw style)


Available Dates

January 11, 2021 - Frederick Party


$199 per person + Discounted Lift Ticket




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

Avalanche Gear

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.

Other Essentials

❏ 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

Group Gear

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


North Lake Tahoe, CA



Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

The Blackbird ARC Avalanche Rescue Course requires moderate physical exertion and the ability to ski off piste terrain proficiently.

Trip Length

Single Day

Price Includes

  • Lift Served Avalanche Rescue Course
  • Donner Ski Ranch Lift Ticket 
  • Fresh Cooked Breakfast!
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