Avalanche 1 Extension: Putting the skills to use (with a ”Guardian Angel”)

So you have done a Level 1 course, you have all those brand new skills and lots of new knowledge but frankly the course has got you a little worried about all the things you have to consider and all the problems you might encounter are seeming a little overwhelming.
Not to worry we have put his program together with all of this in mind and we have seen the concerns that people have after completing the Level I program. So we go out in the field and spend the day with you in charge, leading the group and making decisions for the group. But at the back of the group is your guide and mentor who will add advice, point out things you might have forgotten and help practically expand your skills beyond the Level 1 course.
Think of this as having your own “Guardian Angel” along.


The course is held on-snow in the Bishop or Mammoth areas. We want ready access to the best snow and conditions so we will make our decision of where to go as the course time draws close. We also want to see if we can get you somewhere you have not been before so we will be asking students as to their past local experience. We will facilitate car pools to the snow each day but you should make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter travel.


We try to avoid mixing snowshoers and skiers together. Both have different speeds of travel and needs. For skiers we concentrate more on the descending than we can on the Level I and for snowshoers we focus more on the approaches. So where we can we create groups based upon their mode of travel.

The course does not include food or lodging.

The night before or morning of, program participants will be expected to pull up local avalanche information and weather coming ready to give an opinion of current conditions and what concerns for the day might be.

The following resources are handy:

This program is conducted entirely in the field. This will be a long day and we expect to be in the field for at least eight hours. We will be traveling on either skis or snowshoes and you can expect to put in several miles of travel. Skiers can expect some down skiing or boarding and snowshoers can expect some steeper uphills and descents.

We will look at the practical application of the classroom knowledge you gained and put it all into the context of a day tour into avalanche terrain. You will be asked to evaluate the conditions, come up with a tour plan, evaluate your companions and then put your plan into action. Along the way you will be looking for the safest paths of travel and as conditions change so should your plan. Then you will be looking for some good down skiing or boarding that will maximize the fun but not compromise the safety. Snowshoes will treat the outing as a backcountry climbing trip also looking for fun and safety.

Program Prerequisites:

A previous Level I or equivalent course that conforms to AIARE standards. We will be using AIARE terminology in our instruction and while this is not a USA standard we expect students to be familiar with the terms. You need to know the basics of safe travel techniques, avalanche rescue and the basics of snow pit tests.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes instruction and loan of avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes. Local accommodation is not included.

Please Read before you go

We feel the following information is essential... (links open as PDF in new window)

  1. Details, itinerary, and equipment list for your trip
  2. SMC Cancellation Policy
  3. Suggestions on preparation - get the most out of your trip!
  4. Tips on physical training for your trip
  5. LNT - Let's work together to protect our precious mountain environment.

Rental Equipment:

Need to rent equipment for your trip? We can help.