Avalanche Skills Course

Mt Hood

Mt Hood


the Avalanche skills course is for people that want a comprehensive level 1 course in a 2 day format

Until recently, many level 1 courses were conducted over a 2 day period.  There is a lot of content to cover and you will not have as much supervised practice time in the field but you will be provided with the same content as current 3 day Level 1 courses but in a more condensed format.  

These courses do not come with a L1 certification as they do not meet the 24 hour time requirement set forth by the American Avalanche Association (AAA). However, they do cover all of the content.  We offer a 3rd day option (touring day) were you can come out with us on a pre-arranged date and fulfill the AAA's time requirement, practice your skills and receive the certification.



Check back for dates and details.



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The first day of this course is an indoor classroom day in Parkdale OR. The second day is a field day (outdoors in winter conditions all day) on Mt Hood.  Days start at 8am and run until 4pm.  We do not provide overnight accommodations or meals.


During our 2 day Level 1 course, the following topics will be covered:

Avalanche types and anatomy

Basic slab mechanics


• Terrain evaluation and route selection

• Travel protocols & group communication

Snowpack and Weather

• Mountain snowpack development leading to instability or stability

• Field observations, tests and judging instability

• Use of avalanche & snow pit tools: inclinometer, compass, probe, saw

• Introduce elementary pit diagrams with hand hardness profiles, basic grain

type symbols and stability tests. Expose to recording field notes.

• Avalanche & snow climates

Decision-support Tools

• Human factors and the need for systematic decision tools

• Application & limitations of decision tools

• Avalanche bulletins


• Companion rescue including scene size up, organization, beacon use, probing,


• Recovery of victims not wearing beacons

• Common mistakes in avalanche rescue

• Single and multiple beacon search techniques

• Role of first aid and emergency response in real avalanche rescues

Critique: Recommendations for further skills development, preparation for a level 2.


$10 flat rate fee provides access to all of MountainSavvy's rental gear.  Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel are essential for all courses.  


Taking an avalanche course does not guarantee your safety in avalanche terrain.  It will help you to understand the subtleties of the many factors required for consideration to make safe decisions.