Backcountry ski + snowboard technology has made tremendous improvements over the past ten years, and with it comes increased access to new terrain. Boots and bindings are getting lighter, social media allows us to see conditions as they unfold, and snowmobiles allow us to go deeper into the wilderness. As news reports about avalanche fatalities will undoubtedly begin to roll in this winter, there is one thing you can do to prevent the next headline.
AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research + Education) has been educating skiers + riders for nearly 20 years in avalanche prevention and rescue. With dozens of providers and hundreds of instructors through North America, South America, + Europe, getting your Level 1 certification has never been easier.
Here are five reasons you should get your Avy 1 this winter:
- It only takes three days! This is just a good excuse to carve out a long weekend for some ‘education’ (tell that to your boss). All level 1 courses are 24 hours which will provide a basic understanding of avalanches. This includes risk management and decision making in avalanche terrain, as well as proper rescue techniques if an avalanche does occur.
- This is great opportunity to justifiably add shiny new toys to your gear closet. No need to explain to the wife why you need that new Pieps Micro or BCA Float Backpack. You need it because you’re taking an AIARE course so you can save lives. Maybe she’ll even let you throw in a new skin or splitboard setup!
- Many providers offer hut based trips. This option is great if you’re the kind of person who wants to dive a little deeper into their first AIARE course. You’ll get the full education experience while studying remote snowpack and hopefully getting to ski some fresh pow.
- Over the past 10 years, an average of 27 people die each winter in avalanches in The United States (source: CAIC). Odds are that if you live in Colorado, Montana, or Washington, you’ve read about, heard about, or know someone who was involved in an avalanche incident. Make sure you equipped with the right knowledge and know the right questions to ask when you’re in the backcountry.
- You’ll make lifelong friends. Folks come from around the world to take AIARE courses in Jackson, Denver, Telluride, and Truckee. Sure, you can always take one locally if you are lucky enough to live in a place where there is decent snowpack. And you’ll at least meet a new backcountry partner or two so you won’t be stuck worrying if you’re friend has the knowledge to dig you out in time.
Whether you’re on a skis, splitboard, or snowmobile, if you’re heading into the backcountry this winter, please take an AIARE course. At Hinterlands, we’ve made it incredibly easy to find and book a course in your area. As part of our continued mission towards promoting education awareness, Hinterlands is donating $50 for every AIARE course that is booked through our platform. And our AIARE listings continue to grow every week, so please send us a note if there is a specific area you would like to see on our platform.