3 days (8:30am-4:30pm)

Meeting Location

Eastern Mountain Sports Schools
2686 White Mountain Highway
North Conway, NH 03860

Class Size

Maximum enrollment of 6 students per instructor.


$495 per person


Lodging is not included in course fee.  Students will be responsible for their own accommodations.  Click here for area lodging.

Gear List

All technical climbing equipment will be provided.  Click here for items you will be responsible for bringing.


Additional Area Lodging

Gear List

Mount Washington Observatory Weather

Mount Washington Avalanche Center

AIARE Website

AIARE Resources

Be Avalanche Aware

AIARE 1 Pre-Course Study

ISSW Proceedings

Educational Videos

USA Avalanche Accidents

AIARE 1 – Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain


Photo:  @bdmath

The AIARE 1 is a three-day/24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management.

Students can expect to develop good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn the rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

***PROGRAM UPDATE*** For the winter of 2021-2022 we will be conducting the first day of this course fully remotely and then day 2 and day 3 in the field.  This will give our students greater flexibility and allow for us to better manage contact with all students.  Please note that the remote session may or may not be on the day prior to our two field days.  We will decide this as a group, as we approach the program start date.  Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.

2021-2022 Dates:

December 17-19 (18th & 19th are field days), January 7-9 (8th & 9th are field days)

AIARE 1 Pre-Course Study
Familiarize yourself with these concepts so you can come to your course and build on your existing skills.  By reading through this, you can perhaps answer some questions that you currently have as well as develop questions that you can have your instructor explain, either in the classroom or out in the field.  Each of these topics will be addressed in-depth in your AIARE 1 course.  READ MORE…

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the AIARE 1 course the student should be able to:
Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain.
Recognize avalanche terrain.
Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
Learn and apply effective companion rescue.

Instructional sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction):

1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena

Types and characteristics of avalanches
Avalanche motion
Size classification
The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering

2. Observations and Information Gathering

Field observation techniques
Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test
Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
Observation checklist
Avalanche danger scale

3. Trip Planning and Preparation

Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
Route finding and travel techniques
Decision making and Human Factors

4. Companion Rescue and Equipment

Student Prerequisites

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain.  There are no other prerequisites.


Day one:  For the winter of 2021-2022, day one will be fully remote.  As we approach the program start date, we will schedule the exact date and time for this remote session.
Days two & three:  On these days, your instructor will advise you where and when to meet.  Plan to be outdoors for the entire day.  You will be traveling into the backcountry, so have your skis/board/snowshoes prepped and ready the night before.  Each day will wrap up around 4:30pm.  You will be responsible for meals and transportation for the day.

Included/Not Included

Students will be outfitted with all technical equipment for this course.  You are welcome to bring your own equipment but it will be subject to approval by your guide.  Equipment provided includes beacon, probe, shovel, AIARE Student Manual, and AIARE Field Book.  Students will be expected to arrive dressed appropriately for the weather.  See gear list for required gear and clothing.  Students will be responsible for their own lodging, meals, and transportation.  Click here for lodging options.  Students will also be responsible for their own method of transportation on the mountain (skis & skins*, snowshoes*, or splitboards).

*These items can be rented from Eastern Mountain Sports, and are not included in course fees.  Please call 845-668-2030 to speak with us about rentals.  Helmets must be worn by all skiers/riders.

Cancellation Policy

Payment is due in full at the time of booking to secure your reservation.  Events run rain or shine.  Eastern Mountain Sports Schools reserves the right to cancel or reschedule events for low participation, weather, or safety concerns at any time.  We will try to give as much advance notice as possible, but may not always be able to give much advance warning, especially for weather cancellations.

Cancellations or schedule changes more than 30 days prior to the program start date will be fully refunded or credited to a future program with no penalty.

Cancellations or reservation changes within 30 days will not be refunded and you will not be allowed to reschedule or carry over deposits to future events (NO MATTER THE REASON FOR THE CANCELLATION).  Please mark the last day to cancel on your calendar after making your reservation.

Cancellations due to weather are determined only by EMS Schools and the guides – we will not make a weather cancellation at a guest’s behest.  Please note that forecasts change frequently and are rarely accurate more than a day or so out.  If it is determined a program needs to be canceled based on weather, we will call and/or email you prior to your reservation.  This may not always be far in advance of your reservation, so we suggest purchasing travel insurance if you are coming from afar.  If we do not reach out to you, your program will run as scheduled.  A full refund or rescheduling option will be available for those canceled due to weather.

Please remember that when you book into a pre-scheduled group lesson, your reservation is pending sufficient enrollment.  If the minimum number of participants is not met, we will offer you the option to reschedule or receive a refund.  NOTE:  If you do not arrive on time for a group program, we reserve the right to start without you and you will not be rescheduled or refunded.

We highly recommend looking into travel insurance if you are at all concerned that life events may get in the way of your ability to come out with us.  If you have any questions, please call 845-668-2030.  We would be more than happy to review our cancellation policy with you.

Eastern Mountain Sports Schools