Overview

Alaska Avalanche School Programs, Courses and Lectures

 

Below are brief descriptions of our courses. For more in depth information, please follow the links.

 

LECTURES

Recognition of Avalanche Hazard Lecture                                                                                                   

An 8-hour classroom workshop for mountain travelers (snowmachiners, skiers, snowboarders, climbers, snowshoers, etc.) interested in an introduction to avalanches, avalanche terrain, recognizing clues to instability, route-finding and rescue. AAS instructors keep this lecture entertaining with demonstrations, slides, and stories. This is a great program for adults and young backcountry enthusiasts alike.

For more information, check out our Lecture page here.

Weather for the Backcountry Traveler

Knowing what will happen weather-wise in the backcountry is an important skill. Whether deciding to go for the summit or driving to Turnagain Pass, making accurate weather predictions can mean the difference between success and having an epic. Learn how to use web-based weather products before you leave home and, once in the field, to use your weather observations to prevent surprises. This 3 hour classroom workshop is a great addition to your backcountry skill set.

For more information, check out our Lecture page here.

Slice of the Mountain Slide Shows

Free slide show presentations each month from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Alaska Avalanche School. Come join us for these informal gatherings and view a ‘slice of the mountain’  as presented by our instructors. Fun and exciting trips from around the world and around the state will be presented. Bring your snack and beverage and join us for these monthly gatherings.   Schedule to be announced.

For more information, check out our Lecture page here.

WORKSHOPS

Avalanche Rescue Workshop                                                                                                                

This one day, hands-on intensive workshop covers backcountry avalanche rescue. Following a short introductory lecture this workshop provides an opportunity for participants to practice with avalanche transceivers, try different brands, and do realistic rescue scenarios. This is a great companion program with the Avalanche Hazard Recognition Workshop. Pre-requisite: ability to be outside all day in wintery, inclement conditions. Open to those with and without prior rescue practice.

For more information, check out our Workshop page here.

Level 1 Refresher Workshop                                                                                                           

Has it been some time since your Level 1 avalanche course? Would you like an opportunity to spend time in the field with an instructor, ask questions, refresh your skills, and learn the newest ideas and techniques in snow science? This season’s Refresher Workshop will take place at our office in Anchorage and in the field at Turnagain Arm. Prerequisites: AAS 3 day Level 1 avalanche course or equivalent.

For more information, check out our Workshop page here.

Spring Snow Evaluation Workshop

Spring skiing has its’ own set of avalanche hazards. Wet snow behaves differently than dry snow and requires different hazard evaluation skills. This program concentrates on observations, tests, and terrain selection for late season skiing.

For more information, check out our Workshop page here.

Avalanche Mentors Workshop

The avalanche mentors workshop is just what the name suggests, it is a program designed to continue the mentorship process by allowing an individual or group of friends to hire an instructor for a day of skiing or riding.  The focus of this program is to build on the participants’ existing foundation, whatever the level.
Once a student has completed a course the question arises, where do we go from here?  The answer is not always to continue with more organized courses. This workshop is designed for you and your friends to spend the day in the backcountry with one of our instructors. The emphasis is to practice what you have learned from your previous classes and gain confidence in making informed decisions. If you have a group of four or more you pick the date to fit your schedule

For more information, check out our Workshop page here.

Avalanche Observers / Level Three Prep Workshop

The focus of this workshop is to introduce and review the documentation and record keeping as per the Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG). This program is meant for backcountry users who submit, or would like to submit observations, to their local forecasting center and for folks who are on a professional avalanche track.  It is required of the level three if the participant’s level 2 Course was less than 40hrs or taken more than three years ago. 

For more information, check out our Workshop page here.

COURSES

 

Level 1 Backcountry Avalanche Hazard Evaluation & Rescue Course

This intensive course, with over 33 hours of classroom and field training, is aimed at teaching the hands-on skills needed to recognize and evaluate potential avalanche hazards. If you’re a winter backcountry traveler and want the best education pertaining to avalanche safety then this is your course!
Training includes group rescue techniques, terrain analysis, snow stability evaluation, decision-making, safe travel procedures, and route selection. This course is packed full of valuable information, and our instructors keep things entertaining and fun! This course is recommended for all backcountry enthusiasts! Experienced backcountry travelers and young aspiring backcountry enthusiasts alike.

For more information, check out our Level-One page here.

Level 2 Avalanche Hazard Evaluation Course                                                                                  

This course is for those who have already attended a Level I workshop and are serious about learning more. The focus will be on enhancing skills in avalanche hazard evaluation and decision-making with an emphasis on avalanche forecasting. New ideas in snow science and documentation will also be covered. Field sessions will be held in two different locations so participants can work in different snow climates. Pre-requisite: At least intermediate backcountry travel skills.

For more information, check out our Level-Two page here.

Level 3 Avalanche Forecasting and Advanced Training Course                                                                

This course is offered in partnership with The American Avalanche Institute (AAI) and is recognized by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA).  This course is the highest level of formal avalanche training in the U.S..  The focus of this course is efficiency and mastery of skills.  Approximately half of the course in classroom based and the other half is field based.  We will travel in the backcountry, in and around avalanche terrain. AAI link is listed below.

For more information, check out our Level-Three page here.

Youth Avalanche Programs

Backcountry 101 is a course designed specifically for youth new to the backcountry (ages 12 – 18). 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.

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 on 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.  This evening classroom session is held at the Alyeska Race Training Center, and the field day on the slopes of Alyeska Resort.

Snow Machine Education

Snowmachiners have unique avalanche hazard evaluation and rescue issues. Assessing the terrain and snowpack require different observational skills than when afoot. If there is an avalanche, the escape and rescue strategies are different as well. Learn from mountain professionals with riding and search and rescue experience during these two modules are each one day workshops that can be taken together or one at a time. No prior avalanche training is necessary.

For more information, check out our Snow Machine Education page here.

Custom Programs

The Alaska Avalanche School also offers custom programs to fit any group at any level.  We currently offer numerous custom programs all over Alaska as well as the Lower 48.  Examples of groups we currently work with are, National Park Service, State Troopers, Military Groups, private
industry, and private parties.

For more information, check out our Custom Program pages here.