The Level 1 avalanche course is the foundation for the winter backcountry travel. This course is geared toward anyone who wants to get into the wintry mountains: skiers, boarders, climbers, snowshoers. It is an intensive, hands-on course that will provide you with the skills necessary to recognize and evaluate avalanche hazard. This course consists of 27 hours of classroom and field training.

Watch this video of an AAS Level 1

Course Curriculum Includes

  • Companion rescue techniques
  • Terrain analysis
  • An introduction to evaluating snow stability
  • Decision making
  • Route selection 
  • Travel techniques


  • Read Avalanche Essentials by Bruce Tremper. 
  • Complete a pre-test, which is based on the required reading. It will be sent upon enrollment. If you study your pre-course material before the workshop, you will absorb more during the course. 
  • Ability to ski or snowshoe up and downhill in variable terrain and changing snow conditions.
  • Be prepared to remain outside all day in foul weather. 
  • Track the weather in Southcentral Alaska during the weeks prior to the course.  
  • Get out and travel on your field gear so there are no surprises.


Sorry, none scheduled for winter 2017/18. 


  • Three full days (27 hours) of classroom and field instruction
  • Handouts 
  • Field card
  • Floor or bunk space on public courses

Does Not Include

  • Transportation
  • Food  
  • Personal gear and clothing
  • Avalanche Essentials, by Bruce Tremper
  • Avalanche gear:
    • Snow saw: G3 Bone Saw recommended
    • Shovel: Black Diamond Eval Shovel recommended
    • Beacon: Pieps DSP Sport
    • Inclinometer: any inclinometer will work, phones not recommended
    • ECT cord: 2m of 2mm accessory cord with overhand knots every 10cm.

The Hatcher Pass venue. We'll stay here three nights. The weak snowpack of the Talkeetna Mountains makes Hatcher ideal for learning about snow. Can you spot the avalanche in this photo? Sometimes all slopes in this photo avalanche during the course. 

Outside the Manitoba Cabin venue.

Inside Manitoba Cabin.

Practicing extended column tests high on Manitoba Mountain. 

Examining an avalanche fracture line teaches us how avalanches work. 

In test pits we conduct stability tests to study the slab and weak layers that create avalanches.  

During one full day we tour around, sampling the snow as we go, while putting our knowledge into the big picture. 

So we know what to do when standing here.