Kirkwood is a Class A avalanche area, making it the perfect classroom for our avalanche & backcountry education programs. Expedition:Kirkwood has become one of the West Coast’s largest avalanche education providers, teaching the most current versions of the nationally recognized curriculum from the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Our AIARE trained instructors have over 25 years teaching experience and our avalanche programs - combined with AIARE specific teaching methods - are student centered. The prime goals of these courses are to increase public awareness and save lives through avalanche education.
These courses aim to provide:
- A better understanding of the avalanche phenomena
- The knowledge to make more informed decisions at home and in the field
- The tools to successfully plan and prep for travel in avalanche terrain, and to carry out a basic rescue
No course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after completion, but the education & knowledge provided by these specialized courses are essential tools for any backcountry adventurer.
These specialized courses are essential tools for any backcountry adventurer. Expedition:Kirkwood offers AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Courses throughout the winter. Sessions do fill up, so reserve your spot early.
AIARE Level 1
A three day introduction course to the avalanche phenomena. Students will develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, understand basic decision making while in the field, and learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person. View the course description, equipment list and additional resources.
COST: Camp only $300/ Camp plus lift ticket $325 (day two will be spent on the hill, a valid ticket or pass is required.
Alpine touring gear or splitboard packages can be rented for an additional $20 (needed for 3rd day only.
December: 4th-6th & 14th-16th
January: 8th-10th & 19th-21st
February: 1st-3rd, 8th-10th, 22nd-24th & 26th-28th
March: 1st-3rd, 12th-14th & 22nd-24th
AIARE Level 2
The Level 2 Course is a four day program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. The course also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the Level 3 Certificate. The Level 2 builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the Level 1 and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation. Students must have obtained a Level 1 Certificate before taking a Level 2 Course. View the course description, equipment list and additional resources.
Contact Expedition:Kirkwood to book your AIARE Level 2 Course today.
AIARE Cancellation Policy
- Outside of 5 days – no charge
- Within 5 days – 50% charge
- Day of/no show – full charge
- Road closure - no charge
Backcountry Awareness Clinics
Our Backcountry Awareness Course is a great introduction to avalanche awareness and will create a solid foundation upon which to build skills in the AIARE Level 1 Course. Learn the basic skills needed to venture safely inside resort boundaries or into basic lift accessed backcountry terrain in this four hour course. Course covers avalanche awareness and avoidance, equipment usage, snow observations and safe terrain travel techniques. Clinics are led by Expedition Guides and are limited to 8-10 participants. Strong intermediate through upper skill level needed.
Clinics start promptly at 10am with 1 hour of classroom time and 2 hours of field time. Advance reservations are highly recommended, clinics fill up fast and have a maximum of 12 participants.
COST: Clinic only $60 / Clinic plus lift ticket $100
DATES: December 9th, December 30th, January 5th, January 13th, January 26th, February 10th, February 24th, March 16th, March 30th
Backcountry Camp/AIARE Level 1
Please note: Camp has been cancelled for 2013, check out our AIARE Level 1 upcoming dates.
New this year at Expedition:Kirkwood is the intensive four day Backcountry Camp for skiers and riders. Taught by professional guides and avalanche instructors, this camp will follow the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) guidelines for a Level 1 Certificate. Students will walk away from the session with a solid understanding of how to travel safely and efficiently in a backcountry environment. The days will be mixed between classroom time and field sessions. View the course description, equipment list and additional resources. Discount lodging available for participants, call to inquire.
COST: Camp only $500 / Camp plus four day lift ticket $620
Beacon Training Clinics
If you spend any time skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing in the backcountry, an avalanche beacon (also known as an avalanche transceiver) is a vital piece of equipment. A beacon, shovel and probe, along with regular practice, can mean life or death in the event of an avalanche.
Led by our Expedition:Kirkwood guides, these two hour clinics utilize our ‘BCA Beacon Basin’ training site to simulate a single burial scenario. The session covers techniques for single and multiple searcher options, utilizing the three phases of a beacon search - the signal search, course search and find search. Techniques for pin-point probing, as well as how to form and operate a probe line, will also be covered as well as proper digging strategies and techniques.
DATES: December 20th, January 6th, February 9th, March 9th, April 13th