Three days in person!

This 24-hour course is an introduction to managing avalanche hazards. You will learn how to use a repeatable process to manage your risk and learn from your experiences in the backcountry. You will also practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, keeping track of, communicating, and making decisions about hazards while in the backcountry, and learning rescue techniques if an avalanche occurs and someone is caught.

Who Should Take this Course

The AIARE 1 is for anyone, regardless of their method of backcountry travel, who wants to recreate in or near avalanche terrain. You should be able to travel off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain.

What You’ll Learn

During an AIARE 1 course, you’ll spend time learning these skills, both in a classroom setting and in the field: 

  • A repeatable process for managing risk in the winter backcountry
  • Identifying avalanche hazard
  • Developing a plan for travel in avalanche terrain
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Build habits to maintain awareness, communicate with your group, and make decisions 
  • Learn and practice avalanche rescue skills


The in-person portion of this course will be held in Mammoth Lakes. We will send you the exact meetup location two weeks prior to the start of your course. We wait to finalize the exact location depending on conditions, weather and snowpack. Please make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter driving conditions, there will be no carpooling organized by SMC.

Preparing for your course

Please be prepared for a mild level of physical exertion. Be prepared to spend several hours in cold, possibly windy, or inclement conditions. This means bringing plenty of extra layers, food (you will be responsible for providing your own meals and snacks), and water for each day of the course.


We use AIARE curriculum, which meets American Avalanche Association (A3) guidelines for recreational avalanche education in the U.S. Price includes instruction, a loan of avalanche beacons, shovels, probes, and an AIARE Fieldbook. Local accommodation and transportation is not included.


Participants can be on snowshoes, a backcountry ski setup, or split board. If you do not have any of these you can rent snowshoes from us. The downhill skiing or boarding will be limited since the emphasis is on learning, not turning, so we often find that it is not worth the expense of renting backcountry skis for the course. If you are on skis or a board, please make sure you know how to use this gear before your course. Review our full “Equipment List” in the Resources tab.