Avalanche Level 1

Avalanche Level 1 provides students with a solid foundation of skills which enables them to travel more safely and make informed decisions in the backcountry. SIET Avalanche programs are unique in that the class size is capped at six students, which allows the instructor to customize the course to specific student goals and provide more one-on-one coaching. 

This course will cover curriculum that meets and exceeds the guidelines of the American Avalanche Association. The program is 24 hours long with 60% of course time spent in the field and 40% in the classroom, as per AAA guidelines.

All SIET avalanche courses are taught by IFMGA or AMGA Certified Ski Guides who have extensive backcountry experience, have taught dozens of avalanche courses, and are well versed in the most current industry best practices. 



Course Topics and Learning Outcomes:

  • Access the local avalanche bulletin and learn to understand & apply the information.
  • Describe where and why avalanches occur.
  • Understand key components of avalanche formation.
  • Human Factors: Identify & apply simple decision tools to prepare for traveling in avalanche terrain.
  • Apply risk management tools: safety equipment, trailhead checks, and communication.
  • Learn procedures for Basic Companion Rescue.
  • Make key observations for snowpack and weather.
  • Practice snowpack tests appropriate for the current avalanche problems.
  • Identify avalanche terrain in the field.
  • Choose terrain appropriate for the current avalanche forecast and avoid avalanche problems.


  • Location: Wasatch Range, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Course Fee: $475 (min 4 students)
  • 2021/22 Dates: 


    • Dec 10-12 Time: Dec 10 5pm-8pm (classroom); Dec 11 8am-8:30pm; Dec 12 8am-5pm 
    • Dec 17-19 Time: Dec 17 5pm-8pm (classroom); Dec 18 8am-8:30pm; Dec 19 8am-5pm 
    • Jan 7-9 Time: Jan 28- 5pm-8pm (classroom); Jan 29- 8am-8:30pm;  Jan 30- 8am-5pm 
    • Jan 28-30 Time: Jan 28- 5pm-8pm (classroom); Jan 29- 8am-8:30pm;  Jan 30- 8am-5pm 


  • Note: It’s also possible, and generally recommended, to run an evening classroom session on the Thursday evening before the field session instead of the Saturday evening after a long day in the field.
  • Other dates and private courses available upon request
  • Rentals available, please make your request 10 days before the course start date
  • Transportation not provided; all wheel drive and/or chains sometimes required by law in the Wasatch. 
  • Contact us with questions, to apply, or for more details 

Required Gear List:

Avalanche Level 1 Equipment List


Mount Superior, the core of the Wasatch Range. Home to world-class backcountry skiing..and powerful avalanches!


Scholarships Available: 

American Alpine Club’s Partner in Adventure Grant- for Outdoor Education: “Our goal is to help you and your partner stay safe as you broaden your climbing skill set.” -AAC. This fits perfectly with SIET’s objectives, definitely apply to this one! Grants up to $1,000. Applications are open from September 22—October 29. For courses in the US only. 

Cancelation Policy:

If you need to cancel 60 days prior to the course, you will be given a full refund. Cancelations that occur after 60 days will not receive a refund. The course may also be cancelled due to bad weather, sickness, low enrollment, or other logistical challenges and trip insurance is advised.