Activity Notes

Backcountry Adventure Guides AIARE 1 Certification Course

This is an AIARE Level 1 avalanche safety course that takes place over three days on Mt. Hood: at the Mazama Lodge, around Timberline Lodge, and/or in the White River Canyon. Lodging and meals at the Mazamas Lodge are included in this course. This course has been organized by the Mazama Climbing Committee, and will be directed by lead instructor Matt Schonwald (founder/guide) of Backcountry Adventure Guides (Seattle, WA). 

Please contact with any questions you have.


Who Should Take this Course?

The AIARE-1 is for anyone, regardless of the method of backcountry travel, who wants to recreate in or near avalanche terrain. Participants may have attended some awareness classes or workshops or completed the Avalanche Rescue course, but none are a prerequisite for this course. This course is open to both Mazama members, and the general public, with an open registration first-come-first-serve basis for acceptance.



Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain and bring appropriate equipment and know how to use it, for traveling on snow during the class. Students should also bring and use appropriate clothing/layers/gear for snow conditions and typical weather of the Pacific Northwest found on Mt. Hood. There are no other prerequisites.


Student Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the AIARE 1 course, the student should be able to:

  • Prepare for backcountry travel with seasonal and daily routines
  • Use planning tools and checklists to facilitate communication and making decisions in order to reduce risks
  • Use techniques to improve their companion rescue
  • Develop a plan for travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify avalanche terrain.
  • Effectively use The AIARE Risk Management Framework to make terrain choices in a group setting.
  • Demonstrate effective companion rescue.


Class Material included: 

Student handbook, Field notebook, lectures and field instruction.


Lodging included:

Friday and Saturday night lodging in the communal bunk rooms. Students bring their own sleeping bad, pillow, and earplugs. Please see for more details about the Mazama Lodge, including driving and parking directions. You'll need a SnoPark Permit from Oregon, Idaho, or California to park overnight in the nearby Government Camp SnoPark.


Meals included:

Six meals are included—Friday lunch, and dinner. Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunday breakfast. Students must bring their own snacks, and Sunday field lunch. Sunday will be spent 100% in the field, we won't be going to any lodges to purchase meals. However, you can purchase a "sack lunch" for $9 from the Mazama Lodge for your Sunday lunch.


Avalanche Gear Included (if needed):

For students who don't have access to avalanche safety equipment, the Mazamas will provide transceivers, shovels, and probes for the duration of the program included in the price of the course. However, it's strongly recommended that students use their own equipment (or use borrowed/rented equipment that they are considering purchasing) for this class so they can practice with that particular gear in a controlled environment. Please bring your beacon's user manual if you're unsure how it operates.



Not Included:

Transportation to field location, snowshoes, poles, touring equipment, or required equipment list below.


Required Equipment Not Included:


  • Boots. Warm equivalent to 3-season or 4-season alpine boots, that meet your personal warmth needs for the Mt. Hood environment. Comfortable for walking around and standing on snow for 10-hours.
  • Touring setup: 1) Snowshoes -or- 2) Skis / Splitboard should be equipped with alpine touring bindings, or telemark bindings, and have a set of skins because they avoid the need for snow shoes. Make sure your boots are compatible with your chosen setup.
  • “Ski” poles with powder (big) baskets


The above equipment is available for rental at Mountain Shop (2975 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232) generally for 3-days / 2-nights. Some example prices (please contact the Mountain Shop for exact costs):

  • Boot rentals for $15-$25 for 3-days / 2-nights
  • AT Ski Package Skis, boots, poles and skins for $65 for 3-days / 2-nights
  • Snowshoe rentals for $10 for 3-days / 2-nights
  • Touring Ski Poles rentals for $7 for 3-days / 2-night


Upper Body:

  • Lightweight base layer T-shirt or long sleeve polypropylene shirt 
  • Sports bra synthetic
  • Soft Shell Jacket
  • Down/synthetic jacket with a hood
  • Hard shell jacket with a hood waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex or equivalent is best, roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1-2 pair(s) warm gloves 
  • Shell gloves or mitts, with textured rubber palms and taped seams. 
  • Warm hat, wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava or Buff


Lower Body:

  • Heavy wool/synthetic socks (check boot fit!)
  • Lightweight long underwear 
  • Soft shell pants or hard shell pants



  • Internal frame pack 2000-2400 cubic inch capacity, recommended it be capable of carrying skis or snowshoes 


Miscellaneous Equipment:

  • Goggles
  • Sunglasses 100% UV protection 
  • Personal first aid kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, etc. 
  • Lip balm, at least SPF 20
  • Headlamp w/ spare batteries
  • Water bottle, 1-2 liters
  • Bandanas
  • Snacks and/or munchies Bring trail food/lunch for up to 8 hours outside. 
  • Camera Optional
  • AIARE Field book *(Included with student materials)


Note: Climbing Committee is unable to provide any reimbursement for this course for Climb Leaders at this time.



$ 445 .00 for Mazama members
$ 545 .00 for non-Mazama members


Have questions about registration or your application status?

Email or call (503) 227-2345


Have questions about registration or your application status?

Email or call (503) 227-2345