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Target Audience:
Physicians and other medical professionals who engage in wilderness activities, who counsel individuals who take part in such activities, or who are likely to encounter illness or injury in remote or resource-limited settings.

CME Information:
The Wilderness Medical Society designates this educational activity for a maximum of 13 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 13 California Continuing Education credits available for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics.

Student Manual (pdf file) and the use of avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel, and 13 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

Does not include:
New AIARE Fieldbook and personal items on the Equipment List.

Operating under Special Use Permit, Tahoe National Forest.

AIARE Avalanche Level 1

Winter Wilderness Medicine & AIARE Avalanche Level 1
Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain     4 Day

In conjunction with Tahoe Wilderness Medicine, this course combines our AIARE Avalanche Level 1 with Winter Wilderness Medicine (with 13 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits).

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. This can be done using skis, splitboard or snowboard with snowshoes (see prerequisites below). Please familiarize yourself with the following resources as they will help prepare you for the topics discussed in the course.

An AIARE Level 1 Certificate will be awarded upon completion.

Cost: $879

Required: AIARE Fieldbook $20
The Student Manual will be provided.

Feb 8-11, 2018  (Thu-Sun)

On an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 you will learn about:

Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
Observations and Information Gathering
    Snow Crystals
  • Field observation techniques
  • Bonding tests: rutschblock, compression test
  • Avalanche danger factors "Red Flags"
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale
  • Trip Planning and Preparation
  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors
  • Companion Rescue and Equipment


Through lectures, hands-on sessions and scenarios, you will enhance your medical training and learn to apply your medical knowledge to the winter outdoor environment.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness
  • Hypothermia
  • Ski and Snowboard Injury Patterns
  • Avalanche Resuscutation
  • Frostbite
  • Fractures and Dislocations in the the Wilderness
  • Wilderness Medical Kits
  • Pre-hospital Patient Assessment and Care in the Wilderness
  • Wilderness Rescue for the Backcountry Traveler
  • Avalanche Rescue
  • Avalanche Case Scenarios

  • Demonstrate increased awareness of medical problems unique to the wilderness and austere environments
  • Prevent, diagnose and manage illnesses or injuries in the wilderness and/or remote location
  • Promote increased awareness of safety and accident prevention in wilderness surroundings

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Wilderness Medical Society and Tahoe Wilderness Medicine, LLC. wmsThe Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Tahoe Wilderness Medicine, LLC reserves the right to change or subsitute course faculty without advance or prior notice to participants.

Classroom Location:
Truckee, The Back Country or
Sugar Bowl, Backcountry Adventure Center - (TBA)

Field Time Location:
Top of Donner Pass


Avalanche Terrain The main prerequisite is to be able to travel on the field portions of the course over snow through avalanche terrain and to be familar with your gear. The longest field exercise is about 5-6 hrs. stopping for field sessions and presentations along the way. These field sessions can be done by anyone in good to very good physical condition. You must have experience with backcountry skis or a splitboard/snowboard.

Many students interested in getting into the backcountry logically want to begin their education with an avalanche course. It is possible to do it this way if necessary, if you have at least one full day of touring experience. Avalanche education is a long term process that best begins with basic prerequisite skills, then, after completion of the AIARE L1 course, continues with ongoing learning and gaining experience over time on the snow.

ASI recommends previous backcountry travel experience found on courses such as:

Sugar Bowl Backcountry
Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Intro to Splitboarding
These simple, one-day courses emphasize use of touring equipment, basic travel skills, hazard recognition and avoidance. One of these courses or equivalent experience is a recommended prerequisite to get the most educational value from a thorough ASI AIARE L1 Course.

Questions about this course?

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