Washington AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course

Our unique Avalanche Rescue Course allows you to practice multiple scenarios searching from the top down to build awareness of terrain & learn how to effectively save a companion buried in an avalanche. Rescue courses take place at Mount Baker or Snoqualmie Pass.
Lift Accessed Avalanche Rescue Course Participants performing a mock avalanche rescue at donner ski ranch
Rescuers performing avalanche rescue and transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
Rescuers probing after a transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
Lift Accessed Avalanche Rescue Course Participants performing a mock avalanche rescue at donner ski ranch
Participants posing for a photo above Donner Lake during the Blackbird AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch
Rescuers performing an avalanche rescue during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch

The Blackbird AIARE Avalanche Rescue course brings avalanche rescue training to the next level.  Our unique course gives you more practice in realistic scenarios, in real terrain, without wasting time on the approach or in a flat meadow. We offer options at Mount Baker or Snoqualmie Pass.

Here are some of the unique benefits of our Avalanche Rescue Course:

  • Practice Avalanche Rescue, Top Down.  Our program allows participants to do multiple top-down search scenarios.  Each scenario starts at the top of the avalanche path, so you can practice searching with your skis or board in downhill mode. It provides valuable insight into searching the way you would if your ski partner was caught during a descent.
  • Realistic Terrain. Mt Baker and Snoqualmie Pass are ideal venues for this program. They provides incredible access to well defined "avalanche paths" that are highly realistic and provide 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. 
  • Top notch AIARE Avalanche Course Leaders.  Our team has lived and skied in the Washington snowpack for decades and our experience is drawn from seasons of guiding, backcountry skiing, performing avalanche control at Class A ski resorts and instructing avalanche courses.  All of our avalanche courses are taught by AIARE trained instructors and course leaders.
  • Our program is just plain fun! During our program, you'll actually get a few laps of free skiing in!  You’ll take laps while your guide sets up avalanche scenarios and you’ll get more rescue practice.
  • Private Programs available too! 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

Requisite Experience 

You can take the Avalanche Rescue Course before or after the AIARE 1 Avalanche Course. 

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 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

    Lift Accessed Avalanche Rescue Course Participants performing a mock avalanche rescue at donner ski ranch
    Rescuers performing avalanche rescue and transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
    Rescuers probing after a transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
    Lift Accessed Avalanche Rescue Course Participants performing a mock avalanche rescue at donner ski ranch
    Participants posing for a photo above Donner Lake during the Blackbird AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch
    Rescuers performing an avalanche rescue during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Rescuers performing avalanche rescue and transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Rescuers probing after a transceiver search during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Lift Accessed Avalanche Rescue Course Participants performing a mock avalanche rescue at donner ski ranch
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Participants posing for a photo above Donner Lake during the Blackbird AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Rescuers performing an avalanche rescue during the Blackbird Lift Accessed AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course at Donner Ski Ranch

    Dates

    Available Dates

    December 16, 2022 - Mount Baker
    January 6, 2023 - Snoqualmie Pass
    January 20, 2023 - Mount Baker
    February 3, 2023 - Snoqualmie Pass

    Prices

    See Sidebar for current pricing.

    Itinerary

    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

    Equipment

    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

    Optional

    ❏ 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

    Location

    Mt Baker

  • Snoqualmie Pass
  • Elevation

    4,000-6,000'

    Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

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

    Trip Length

    Single Day

    Price Includes

    Expert Instruction from our AIARE Certified Guides
  • Digital AIARE Certificate of Completion
  • Regular price
    $225.00
    Sale price
    $225.00
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