Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course

Our exclusive, all-women avalanche course is led by our female guides. Pairing our online course, interactive webinar & three full days in the field, you'll build the backcountry decision making skills you need to confidently travel in avalanche terrain.
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Snowboarders hiking a ridge during an AIARE 1 avalanche course with Blackbird Guides in North Lake Tahoe

This AIARE Avalanche Course is led by women instructors and provides our hybrid course format and expert field training.

AIARE 1 + Avalanche Rescue

The Blackbird AIARE 1 + Avalanche Rescue combines our two most popular AIARE courses into one innovative, time and cost-effective 3-day program. You get all of the baseline knowledge you need to tour the backcountry with confidence - in just 3 days!

These courses are not “first backcountry skiing courses.” If this is your first-time backcountry skiing, please visit Intro to Backcountry Skiing, a perfect course for beginners that will teach you to use your gear, expose you to “wild snow” as we find it outside the world of ski resorts, and provide you with lessons and coaching on techniques for skinning and backcountry skiing movement.  We expect all participants in the Blackbird AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue courses to be proficient with their gear and basic ski touring movement. There is a lot of material to cover during this program and we want to maximize the experience for each participant.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Mountain Snowpack 

  • Mountain Weather

  • The Avalanche Problems

  • Trip Planning

  • Terrain Choice

  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team

  • Trailhead Departure Check

  • Route Finding

  • Track Setting

  • Descent Choices

  • Top Down Avalanche Rescue in Realistic Terrain

Requisite Experience 

Blackbird AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue courses are for backcountry riders looking to assess avalanche risk, improve their decision making during tours and become a backcountry partner. Riders who have skied for years in the backcountry often remark “I wish I had taken these courses years ago!” It is an excellent way to solidify concepts that are often hazy, even after years of riding the backcountry.  

This course is great for novices and experienced backcountry users alike, but we do require that you:

  • Are Proficient at Using Your Gear. If you are not, consider taking the Intro to Backcountry Skiing course, 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)

 

Blackbird Mountain Guides has partnered with Weston to host unique courses taught by our Weston affiliated guides! These course include free Weston ski & splitboard demos, swag, and a discount code for Weston products.

Here are the Blackbird x Weston Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Program Dates:

  • 1/20/2023 - 1/22/2023

Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Women's AIARE 1 + Rescue Avalanche Course
Snowboarders hiking a ridge during an AIARE 1 avalanche course with Blackbird Guides in North Lake Tahoe
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  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Snowboarders hiking a ridge during an AIARE 1 avalanche course with Blackbird Guides in North Lake Tahoe

Itinerary

The Blackbird AIARE 1 + Rescue is two courses rolled into one 3 day program!

 

Day 1: Avalanche Rescue

8:45 am  Meet your guide at Donner Ski Ranch ski resort.  Open with introductions, gear-up and load the lifts.  If lifts are not available due to ski resort operations, we will use an alternative touring-based venue and will adjust the pricing accordingly to reflect unused lift tickets.  We’ll begin with covering gear and fundamental skills before moving into an instructor rescue demo and participant-led scenarios.

3:00 pm  We wind down the program to exit the ski area before close.

7:00-9:00 pm  Webinar to cover AIARE 1 content.  Will probably be slightly shorter due to meeting in the field.

 

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.

3:00 pm  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.  

3:00 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! 

 

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

North Lake Tahoe, CA

Elevation

6,000-9,000'

Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪

The Blackbird AIARE 1 + Avalanche Rescue program is of moderate physical difficulty, but requires proficiency in using your touring gear and skiing off piste terrain. There will also be a lot of content to absorb throughout the course, so be prepared.

Trip Length

3 Days

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$795.00
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