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.
Learning Outcomes/Student Proficiencies:
- 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).
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; OR
- 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.
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