1 – 4 people
Get ready for the backcountry with AIARE Level 1
This course is operated by The Mountain Guides
Learn backcountry safety fundamentals or brush up on existing knowledge with AIARE avalanche classes. This Level 1 course offers an amazing chance to learn all best practices against a stunning backdrop: the Tetons in Jackson, Wyoming.
Going into the backcountry is exciting and fun. Making correct and safe decisions aren’t always straightforward when you’re in the field. A fundamental part of any backcountry adventurer’s toolkit is avalanche awareness. This AIARE Avalanche Level 1 class will give you the foundations for safe backcountry travel. The comprehensive three-day course focuses on:
- Hazardous conditions and how to recognize and evaluate them
- Educated decision making on risky terrain
- Companion rescue in avalanche terrain
- Navigating winter mountain route selection
- Evaluating and understanding snowpack
The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is the standard that informs your curriculum. All of our guides are certified and will use their extensive experience when guiding each participant.
Prerequisites for avalanche education
You don’t need to be an advanced skier or boarder, but you do need to be able to ascend moderate slopes using skins. All participants need to be comfortable making descents in a variety of snow conditions.
- Take some time to familiarize yourself with all of your gear
- Make sure it’s all in good working order prior to the class
- You must have appropriate alpine touring (AT), telemark or split-board equipment
- Other gear (pack, transceiver, probe, shovel) is available to rent
Things you need to know
Travel and preparation
- Grand Teton National Park is located roughly 30 minutes from the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides’ office in Jackson, WY. The office is located at 1325 S. Highway 89, Suite 104, and shares a parking area with Smith’s. Most trips and classes will meet at this office for gear checks, preparation, and classes
- It is helpful to arrive a couple of days prior to your trip/class in order to acclimatize. Otherwise, arrive the day before and stop by the office for an equipment check. Do not plan on traveling the day after a significant climb — you will be tired and there are no guaranteed times when you’ll return to the trailhead
- Plan on having accommodations for the night prior to and the night you return from a significant climb. There are ample hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in Jackson and the surrounding area. It is highly advisable to make reservations as early as possible
- The Jackson Hole airport is the closest, but Idaho Falls (2–2.5-hour drive) and Salt Lake City (4–5-hour drive) are worth considering as well.
- Top Long Sleeve Synthetic: medium to expedition weight long underwear Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Butterman 1/2 zip
- Soft Shell or Fleece Jacket Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Aosta Jacket
- Shell Jacket with hood. Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Cloudseeker Jacket
- Puffy Jacket: Hood Recommended. Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Dynotherm Jacket
- Bottom Synthetic or Wool Long Underwear Bottoms Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Butterman Tight
- Shell Pant: full side zips and built-in gaiters Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Highball Pant
- Socks: Synthetic or wool. Sized for your boots and blister protection. Liners recommended.
HEAD AND HANDS
- Gloves 3 pair: 1 light, 1 medium, 1 heavy pair Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Cyclone Alpine Glove
- Hat: medium weight ski hat
- Hat: baseball or visor for sun
- Buff/neck gaiter
- Backpack: 30 to 40 Liter ski pack, Guide Pick: Mammut Pro Short Removable Airbag System Backpack
- Water & Food: Thermos or insulated water bottles are best. Lot’s of snacks.
- Sunglasses/ Sunglass Case
- Ski Goggles
- Extra Prescription Glasses/Contact Lens