U.S. Avalanche Education

The following content is geared toward professional U.S. avalanche education course providers.

 

A3 certifies professional avalanche training programs to ensure programmatic quality, consistency and up-to-date curriculum content.  The organization maintains avalanche education standards and scientific recording methodologies in the United States. A3 Guidelines for Avalanche Education in the United States provide a common framework for recreational and professional avalanche courses. These guidelines address courses like Avalanche Awareness, Level 1, Avalanche Rescue, Level 2, Pro 1, Pro 2, and ProSAR.

A3 recommends that all winter backcountry users begin their training with an optional Avalanche Awareness course, then proceed to Level 1, and Avalanche Rescue. Aspiring backcountry leaders can continue with a Level 2 course. Professional avalanche workers progress to Pro 1, Pro 2, and ProSAR, depending on their specific industries. A3 also has guidelines for snowmobile-specific courses, so motorized users can progress from an awareness course to introductory field-based avalanche and companion rescue courses. These programs provide excellent resources for backcountry users, and aspiring avalanche professionals.

Course providers who meet A3 guidelines for course content can be listed on our website. In order to be listed as course providers, educators complete an application, including a self-evaluation of their curriculum’s adherence to A3 guidelines and course syllabi for each listed course. Applications are reviewed by the A3 Course Provider Review Committee. Listing qualified course providers allows the public to connect with local, consistent, high-quality avalanche educational resources and opportunities.

 
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A3 Pro Member Lel Tone, teaching the finer points of flux lines to an all women's, SAFE AS Clinic in Steven's Pass, WA. Photo: Re Wikstrom

 
 

U.S. Avalanche Education Course Structure

 
 
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U.S. Course Providers

The American Avalanche Association believes that avalanche education can be conducted more thoughtfully, consistently and responsibly, and can achieve more constructive outcomes for students when course providers and avalanche instructors working in the United States strive to embrace common guidelines and practices. Listed course providers are Professional A3 Members who've completed and agreed to the Course Provider Evaluation and Listing Agreement Terms which ensure consistent and high-quality avalanche education. 

 

U.S. Course Provider Guidelines

U.S. Course Providers’ classes follow specific guidelines set forth by A3 in order to be listed. Courses include Avalanche Awareness, which covers general information about avalanche hazard, avoidance, and equipment and are geared toward the general public; Level 1: Avalanche Fundamentals; and Level 2: Avalanche Processes and Leadership, among others. Course providers who educate the public on snowmobile-specific safety can be listed, too, and have their own set of course guidelines to follow for material such as Introduction to Avalanches and Companion Rescue Clinic. For more details on courses and their guidelines, please use the links below.

AVALANCHE AWARENESS

LEVEL 1

AVALANCHE RESCUE

LEVEL 2

SNOWMACHINE

 

Become a U.S. Course Provider

A3 lists course providers on our website as a public service, aiming to promote avalanche education by providing a critical link for the public to increase knowledge and awareness. In order to become listed as course providers, avalanche educators complete a self-evaluation of the course(s) they offer to ensure they meet A3 course provider guidelines. Once a provider’s application and course syllabi are submitted, they are reviewed by the Course Provider Review Committee, which issues a decision on whether to list the provider. The A3 Education Committee oversees listings, but does not oversee or control the conduct of a course provider’s business or programming, nor does A3 differentiate between any listed course providers.

 

U.S. Pro Training Providers

A3 Pro Training Program is an industry-designed program that is an important piece in the training puzzle to help our industry continue to improve on our collective professionalism. A3’s program complements in-house training opportunities, specific on-the-job experience, ongoing professional mentorship, and other sources of continuing professional development. It is important to note that the Pro Training Program does not replace these other integral pieces of the professional avalanche training puzzle but, rather, works in a collaborative, complementary manner to increase the effectiveness of all training for avalanche professionals. With the development and launch of this new program, A3 and stakeholders are not saying that prior training and experience are not valuable or relevant; we are saying that we can do better as an industry as we move into the future.

 

Certified Instructor Program

The Certified Instructor program is for A3 professional members who demonstrate a commitment to teaching excellence and the advancement of research and education. Certified Instructors are those who promote avalanche education at the highest level and are consistent with new topics and research. These Instructors have been professional avalanche educators for at least 10 seasons. They have been recommended by their peers and exhibit a strong commitment to quality avalanche education. Look for these instructors when you are pursuing avalanche education. They often teach in their home states, but can be found just as often teaching in other states and provinces.