Professional Avalanche Training 1 (Pro 1)

Professional avalanche worker training is undergoing big changes for the 2017/18 season. Click here a description of the Professional Program.

This course is designed for avalanche workers just starting in the field. You will learn how to work on a team under direct supervision from a Team Lead.  This course covers a lot of the important fundamentals of understanding and managing avalanches.  Students learn how avalanche work from a more technical understanding.  Students learn how to recognize avalanche terrain, travel through terrain and document snow, avalanche and weather phenomena to the US Industry standard. Upon successful completion of a written test and field test students are awarded certification recognized by the American Avalanche Association.

Skills Learned:

  • Observe, record and evaluate weather data
  • Observe, record and evaluate snowpack data
  • Observe, record and evaluate avalanche occurrence data
  • Identify analyze and document avalanche hazard factors
  • Communicate the avalanche risk between team members
  • Identify and apply strategies to mitigate bias to individual and team decisions
  • Identify and characterize avalanche terrain
  • Travel safely and effectively over snow in mountainous terrain
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of avalanche formation and release
  • Demonstrate small party avalanche rescue and response

Marking and Evaluation: 70% total marks are required to pass the course. Specific categories requiring a “categorical pass” of 70% to pass the course include: station weather observations, snow profiles and snowpack tests, and the written exam.

Skills are taught to the standards documented in the Snow Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG 3rd edition).

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Student Requirements for Enrollment

Course applicants have completed the following AAA-recognized courses prior to enrollment:

  • Level 1 Avalanche Fundamentals (AIARE or AAI or AAA approved)
  • Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals (AAA approved)


  • One winter season (20 days or more) of relevant experience (demonstrated through one of following).
  • Prior avalanche work experience;


  • A supervised unpaid work internship in the guiding/avalanche industry supported by a letter of reference;


  • Winter backcountry travel experience supported by documented trip planning and recorded field observations that contributed to avalanche hazard assessment and personal avalanche risk management;


  • Letter of Recommendation from AAA professional member;


  • AAA Membership (Affiliate or Professional)

*Applicants who believe they have the educational equivalent of the above-listed prerequisites can apply to the AAA for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) review. Contact us with questions.

Course Details

Course runs 8am to 5pm daily


Wednesday, January 3rd – Sunday, January 7th 2018  Silverton, CO

Wednesday, January 17 – Sunday, January 21, 2018   Soldier Mountain, ID

Cost: $830 – $960 per person

Students receive

  • Course Manual along with relevant papers are provided
  • Rite in the Rain Waterproof Field Book that is used during the course
  • Snow Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG 3rd edition). 
  • Pro 1 Certification upon successful completion of the course

Course Length: 5 days

Student: Instructor Ratio: 6:1

Not Included: Food, Lodging, Transportation. Please see our Venues page for logistics. 

Cancellation Policy:   A $35.00 fee is charged for course date transfers. 60% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start.  No refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. Unfortunately we cannot give refunds, rainchecks or cancellations if passes are closed (best arrive early if the weather forecast is big).

The American Avalanche Association has set up a very good FAQ. 

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