How To Learn A Thing Or Two About Avalanches At Home

splitboarding in Lookout Pass backcountry during snowstorm Enjoying some Freshies in the Lookout Pass Backcountry in Idaho - Photo By: Local Freshies

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Did you know more people die in avalanches than in earthquakes? With that said, there really isn’t a better time to start an online avalanche course. While an in-person avalanche class is the best option, e-learning is a great way to start you on the path to enlightenment. And our good friends at Outdoor Adventure Club are offering online courses so you can learn a thing or two from the comfort of your home.


Why Start With Avalanche Education Online

person on mac laptop taking online avalanche course
Photo by Dillon Shook on Unsplash

One of the first things we realized when we took our first AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) course was how overwhelmed we felt. Snow science is complicated! An online avalanche course is a great way to reduce that anxiety. It gives you the resources to familiarize yourself with things like an avalanche advisory, terminology, and how to start identifying avalanche problems. That means once you do take an in-person course, you can get even more from it. If you’re curious about why actual avalanche training is important and what to expect, check out our article:


Great Refresher For The Experienced

Taking an online course is also a great idea for those that have taken a course already. Like physical fitness, you need to keep flexing those mental avalanche education muscles or they’ll atrophy. Besides doing a debrief after EVERY trip, you may want to also consider taking some online classes. You’ll get a chance to refresh those skills and even get some mental pushups in.

Level 2 Courses Are Now For Us “Normal” Folks

outdoor avalanche training at High Sierra Yurt during Februburied
Keeping sharp on using your beacon – Photo by: Local Freshies®

In regard to the AIARE curriculum, A LOT has changed since the 2017/18 season. One of those major changes is the creation of a Recreational Level 2 course. We’re BIG proponents of this class. To learn more why should consider taking this course, check out our article:


Outdoor Adventure Club Online Courses

Although nothing can fill the void of seeing and touching snow, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn about avalanche safety. Using these shelter-in-place restrictions for good, Outdoor Adventure Club has begun providing LIVE 90-minute classes taught by their certified instructors. This means you can ask questions too! Currently, their list of avalanche classes include:

  • What is avalanche terrain
  • Parts of  the avalanche advisory generated by your local avalanche center
  • The nine avalanche types or problems
  • Surface Hoar
  • Facets and rounds- snowpack metamporphism
  • Storm slabs and wind slabs
  • Defining your safety margins in the backcountry around the nine avalanche problems
  • Knowledge check: How much do you know about the nine avalanche problems
  • Opening and closing terrain on CalTopo, with defined margins from the avalanche advisory

To see their upcoming class schedule, go here: Outdoor Adventure Club Online Courses


In addition to the avalanche courses, they’re also offering rock climbing and navigation classes. Within this group, they have two courses on our personal favorite tool: CalTopo. To learn more about what it is and get the gist of how to use it, check out our article:

Click here to register for their online courses.


If you don’t know where to start when it comes to gear, looking for tips, or just want to read about some of the scary experiences we’ve had like having a person break a leg be sure to explore our backcountry guide:

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