Backcountry 101

Know Before You Go
Backcountry 101 Course Description

Know Before You Go is a basic avalanche awareness program designed to give middle and high school students the skills to identify and avoid deceptive avalanche conditions.

Backcountry 101 is a course designed specifically for youth new to the backcountry. Heavy on practical, usable skills and local information, this is a great place for students to start for building their avalanche skills. Students will leave this class understanding the basics of safely traveling in avalanche terrain and sporting a great foundation for learning more.

Traditional Level 1, 2 and 3 classes are great for those wanting to make a major investment in their avalanche knowledge. For youth it’s less about the science and more about getting into the local mountains armed with a basic understanding and awareness. This class provides a dynamic and fun perspective on avalanche awareness with engaging videos, hands-on demonstrations, and real life testimonies from Alaska skiers, riders, guides, ski patrol, and rescue dogs.

The course includes a 3-hour lecture on Friday evening and an 8-hour field day skiing and riding at Alyeska on Saturday. The course is led by Alaska Avalanche School instructors, and supported by a team of local avalanche professionals during field sessions.

On Friday night, we will be indoors covering background material and Saturday we will go out on the snow to practice what we have learned, breaking up into smaller groups divided by ability level. Student/instructor ratios at both sessions are kept low to allow everyone to get personal attention and ask questions.


Cost of the Workshop: $125.00
Workshop Duration: 5:30-8:30pm Friday night & 9:00-5:00pm on Saturday
Location: Alyeska Ski Club Race Training Center
Tuition Includes: Instruction & handouts
Tuition Does Not Include: Ski pass for Saturday, round trip transportation to and from the class-site, food during
the field day, rental equipment.

Program curriculum consists of:
-Formation of Avalanches
-Terrain Analysis
- Weather Red-Flags & Online Resources
-Safe Travel
-Self-Help Backcountry Rescue
-Recognition of Hazards
-Decision Making
-Interaction with Local Avalanche Professionals


Classroom time will be spent at the Alyeska Ski Club Race Training Center clubhouse. On Friday pre-registration and check-in will take place from 5:00pm to 5:30pm. The program will run from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. On Saturday we will begin at 9:00 am and finish the day at 5:00 pm.

Driving Directions: Take the Seward highway to Girdwood. Turn onto the Alyeska Highway and drive until it ends at a ‘T’ with the Alyeska Resort Sign in front of you. Turn right and park in the Day lodge parking lot. The clubhouse is located next to the first aid room at the base of the Tanaka lift.


-Notebooks and pencils or pens are highly recommended for classroom sessions.

-Snacks and water for Friday evening and Lunch for Saturday.

-Skis, poles, boots and clothing to be outside playing in the snow all day.

-Backpack, to carry rescue gear.

-Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel.

-Ski pass for Saturday field session.

If you do not have a probe, and shovel the Alaska Avalanche School would be happy to rent them to you for the course.

No transceiver? A limited number of beacons are available for students who do not have access to a transceiver. Please contact the office for more information.

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