Avalanche Courses

Students assess snow stability in a hasty pit, Alta, UT.  – Ted Roxbury

IWLS teaches a full spectrum of avalanche courses, from 1-day awareness seminars to 7-day Level III programs for avalanche professionals.  Our avalanche courses give participant a solid foundation of skills through hands on learning in the field combined with current avalanche science research presented in a classroom setting.

Haines, AK:  April 1st to October 1st (May 15th to October 1st)

Avalanche Course Level I:

This 3-day course with IWLS gives students a foundation of avalanche safety and safe winter travel awareness. After covering avalanche curriculum in a classroom setting, we’ll spend the rest of our time in the field learning to assess the snowpack, evaluate terrain and perform effective avalanche rescues. This course can also be included in one of our multi-day backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering courses and is part of our 24-day mountaineering leadership training course.

What can you expect to learn?
• How to recognize avalanche terrain.
• Different types of snow crystals within the snow pack that lead to instability
• How to recognize weather and terrain features that lead to instability
• Field tests that help evaluate stability/instability
• Safe and efficient transceiver use
• Safe winter travel
• Other rescue considerations

Avalanche Course Level II:

The level 2 avalanche course with IWLS is a 4-day intensive avalanche course. A minimum of 75% of our time will be spent in the field using our comprehensive course curriculum as a supplemental guide. This course can also be included in one of our multi-day backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering courses. All students must have completed a 3 day level 1 course prior to taking this course.

Goals for this course:
• Understand variability and complexity of avalanche terrain.
• Identify grain types and the basic physical processes leading to them.
• Perform and interpret common stability tests.
• Apply objective decision making methods while travelling through avalanche terrain.
• Develop a comprehensive understanding of the physical processes that contribute to avalanche formation and release.

Avalanche Course Level III:

This is a 7-day course designed for professionals working in avalanche terrain. All students must have completed a 4-day level II Avalanche training at least a year prior to this course, have ample experience traveling in avalanche terrain and assessing avalanche conditions.

Participants can expect classroom and field instruction and practice in the following subjects:
• Snow stability analysis and forecasting
• Avalanche hazard analysis and forecasting
• Operational planning
• Decision making
• Leading groups in Avalanche terrain.

DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.