Professional Avalanche Training 1 (Pro 1)

Click here a description of the Whole 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 the fundamentals of understanding and managing avalanches in an operational setting.  Students learn how avalanche work from a deeper technical understanding.  Students learn how to recognize avalanche terrain, travel through terrain and document snow, avalanche and weather phenomena to the US Industry standard. Instructors provide coaching and teaching both in the field and the classroom. Upon successful completion of a written test and field test students are awarded certification recognized by the American Avalanche Association. SAS is an accredited Professional Program provider by the American Avalanche Association (A3).

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. 

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.

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).

 Course Dates:

We partner with premier operations in the industry.


Questions? Contact us Phone:  (970) 387-8329 Email:

  1. Reveiw Student Requirements and if you meet them secure a spot in one of the venues below.
  2. Fill out an Application here (If you do not meet the requirements we charge a $50 application reveiw fee)
  3. You will receive access to our Online Classroom and and begin to prepare for the class.


  • DONE! December 6-10 Silverton CO
    • Backcountry based
  • DONE! December 16-20, 2019 at Sun Valley, ID
  • Backcountry based
  • DONE! January 13-17, 2020 at Irwin, Crested Butte, CO
    • Students can avoid online booking fees if they call the Irwin Office at (970) 349-5430. Payment for this course is collected by Irwin Guides. This is backcountry access with cat ski access!!.   
  • DONE! January 13-17, 2020 at Monarch Mountain, CO
    • Lift access and backcountry
  • DONE! January 21-25, 2020 at Powder Mountain, UT
    • Lift access and backcountry
  • February 3-7, 2020 at Loveland Ski Area, CO
    • Lift access and backcountry