AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Seminar: Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain
The Level 1 is a three day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management that will:
Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.
Teach to ask the right questions, rather than look for the “answer.”
Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).
A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE Level 2 course.
Student Learning Outcomes: At the end of the Level One course the student should be able to:
Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain.
Recognize avalanche terrain.
Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
Learn and apply effective companion rescue.
Instructional Sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction): 1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
Types and characteristics of avalanches
The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
2. Observations and Information Gathering
Field observation techniques
Snow column tests
Avalanche danger factors- “Red Flags”
Avalanche danger scale
3. Trip Planning and Preparation 4. Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection 5. Route finding and travel techniques 6. Decision making and Human Factors 7. Companion Rescue and Equipment
Course Itinerary: AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Seminar
Day 1:Meet at the designated classroom location. There will be a half day classroom session. The second part of the day will be outside introducing beacons and companion rescue.
Day 2: Meet at the classroom for a morning session. The afternoon will be spent outside classroom on terrain identification, snow pits, slope angles, and planning and preparation.
Day 3: Meet briefly at the classroom and spend most of day in the field. We will return to the classroom at the end of the day for a course wrap up
Additional Info Prerequisites:
Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain.