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Avalanche Education

Yes, avalanches do happen in New England, and each year, several backcountry enthusiasts are injured or killed in New England from avalanches. Take your mountain knowledge to a level that helps you and your group stay safe in the backcountry regardless of where you travel. Take an AIARE avalanche course through Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School!
 
What is AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education)?
 
“AIARE was established in 1998 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational organization to create a researched-based avalanche education model for backcountry users with the belief that avalanche education, research, and training can prevent injuries and fatalities due to avalanches. AIARE develops and disseminates research-based avalanche curriculum to over 100 Providers in the US, South America, Europe, and Asia.”
 

Why choose Acadia Mountain Guides for your avalanche education?

Our instructor team is the strongest in New England, and our courses reflect that. We were at the table early on when the concept of furthering public avalanche education in the U.S. was being discussed, and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education was being created. For several years we were the only climbing school sponsoring AIARE avalanche courses in the eastern U.S. We often ran them at a financial loss, brought avalanche guru Karl Klassen (Canadian IFMGA guide, chief forecaster for the Canadian Avalanche Association, and initial technical director for AIARE) in from western Canada to teach them, and corralled all of our friends to attend to have enough people to run the course. In fact, many of the snow rangers and current avalanche course providers who are working or have worked on Mount Washington were participants in those early courses. Today, times have changed, and the demand for courses has created an abundance of courses and providers. While all the courses are good, we believe ours to be superior, and here’s why:

Course Leaders: All AIARE courses must have a course provider overseeing the course and present for all field sessions.

Jon Tierney is the longest standing, continuous course leader of AIARE avalanche courses in the east. He first brought avalanche courses to New England as early as 1986 on Katahdin. He began co-instructing with and was mentored by Karl Klassen in the mid-’90s with the inception of AIARE. In his lifetime, Jon has a love of high places and has spent a lot of time on snow and in various snowpacks as an alpine and ski mountaineering guide and a climbing ranger, and you will benefit from that experience. He brings you experience ranging from high altitude peaks in Alaska, China, and South American to New England’s mountains. Jon is known for making things easy to understand and his excellent blend of teaching skills that are highly effective with groups. As many clients have said, “If you take a course with Jon, you will take another.” To be one of the few fully certified international IFMGA/AMGA mountain guides, Jon is also a practicing flight paramedic.
Jon is an AIARE Level 1 and 2 Course Leader and Level 3 graduate.

Jon is a very experienced professional guide and one of the best outdoor educators in the AMGA. His client care and technical skills are excellent.” – 2006, Bela Vadasz (Ski Mountaineering discipline coordinator) and Rob Hess (AMGA Technical Director).

Al Mandell is a superb, technically precise skier who has coached several aspiring IFMGA guides on their ski skills in preparation for their ski exams. But more than that, he has a huge passion for skiing that you can’t help but become infected by. He is an engineer, so avalanche science makes sense, and he can share it with participants in a very understandable and excited manner. Al has completed the AMGA Ski Guides Course and AMGA Advanced Ski Mountaineering Course and Aspirant Exam and is pursuing the AMGA Ski Mountaineering Certification. Al is an AIARE Level 1 and 2 Course Leader, Level 3 graduate, and Pro I course provider trainee.

Course Instructors:

Ben Allen hails right from Gorham, NH, and knows the Presidential Range in great detail. He is a superb skier with a knack for teaching about snow. His low-key demeanor, combined with his enthusiasm for getting people out on the snow, makes it easy for people to learn. Ben is a Level 1 course instructor and a graduate of the new Pro 1 course. 

Mark Renson picked up skiing at the now-abandoned Ohoho ski area – 300 feet of vertical but skied like 325 – while attending the University of Connecticut. After years of lift-served skiing, he hooked up with a guide in Rogers Pass Canada and became intrigued with the backcountry. Mark also enjoys dabbling in rock climbing, ice climbing, and whitewater kayaking. Mark also instructs courses for Colorado Mountain School.

  • Completed American Mountain Guides Association Ski Guide Course
  • Level 3 Avalanche Certified by the American Avalanche Institute (Pro 2 equivalent)
  • Completed AIARE Course Leader Training
  • Canadian Avalanche Association AST-2
  • Senior Outdoor Emergency Care & CPR certified
  • Senior Alpine Ski Patroller supporting the Mount Washington NH Avalanche Center

Dick Chasse has guided and climbed throughout the US and in South America. Favorite routes include Wafer Step in Acadia National Park and Barren’s Direct on Katahdin in Maine, North Ridge Mt. Baker in Washington, Vulcan Cayambe in Ecuador, Damnation Gulley on Mt Washington in New Hampshire, and Dark Shadows in Red Rocks Nevada.  Embracing his Franco-American roots, Dick’s goals for the coming year include expanding Acadia Mountain Guide’s offerings in Quebec, especially in the Parc de la Gaspesie and surrounding area.

Dick’s specialty is the attention he devotes to his clients; he truly loves guiding. “I constantly find myself thinking about how to make the next experience better for my clients. I consider it an honor to take people out to the cliffs and mountains,” he says. “The wonderful secret of guiding is that I learn as much from my clients as they learn from me.”

So before you sign up for a course, compare our instructor team to others. When you do, the choice will be easy.

Each participant on an AMGCS avalanche course will be provided a beacon, probe, and shovel. Additionally, each group of four will be provided a group snow study kit. Of course, if you have your own, you are welcome to use it.

At each course, we bring a selection of brand new beacons, probes, and shovels along with avalanche packs and snow study tools. Students can try these and purchase them at a significant discount if they like. If you need outdoor gear, all AMGCS clients also get a lifetime 15% personal purchase discount at AlpenglowGear.com.

We have access to Katahdin, and some years we run an avalanche course there! Hands down, Katahdin is the best area in New England for an avalanche course. For our Katahdin avalanche courses, we stay in a warm bunkhouse (courtesy of Baxter State Park) and are only minutes away from real avalanche terrain on various aspects. The area works well for both skiers and snowshoers.

OUR COURSE OFFERINGS

AIARE Avalanche Rescue & AMG Backcountry Rescue Medicine –
Companion Rescue Course

The Companion Rescue Course is a one-day stand-alone course intended to be retaken periodically to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. The course goes beyond the basic skills taught in the Level 1 Class. Multiple skill-building and scenario-based exercises will focus on a single and multi-person burial, emphasizing on-scene management and teamwork.

  • Who’s it for? The Avalanche Rescue Course is a one-day course aimed both at new & experienced recreationists & aspiring snow professionals looking to learn the nuanced natured of complex avalanche rescue scenarios.
  • How we go? Participants may take this course on backcountry skis, split board, or snowshoes.
  • Where do we go? Most courses utilize terrain on or near Mt. Washington and the northern Presidential Range.
  • Why go with AMG? Acadia Mountain Guides is New England’s original and most experienced AIARE provider and is led by IFMGA Mountain Guide Jon Tierney. Our curriculum meets and exceeds the AIARE Avalanche Rescue curriculum. The Wilderness Medicine skills of our instructors allow us to teach basic backcountry/rescue medicine.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Fitness, clothing, and equipment to ski or hike up to 3 miles round trip with a 10-pound pack. If skiing or riding, you should be advanced enough to ski ungroomed terrain at major northeast ski resorts.
    • AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2 and Pro 1 courses. AIARE recommends that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue course and receiving a rescue card at least every other year.

In many ways finding a buried companion is the easy part! You now have to take care of a potentially badly injured companion(s). The Acadia Mountain Guides course is unique as it also includes basic information and training on post-rescue care developed by the IFMGA guide and Flight Paramedic Jon Tierney.

2021  2022 Avalanche Companion Rescue and Backcountry Medical Care

Tuition: $180.00 -Includes AIARE Av Rescue text hardcopy and PDF, beacon, probe, and shovel, no hidden fees!

Dates

Location

December 28th, 2021

Space Available!

Mount Washington Valley, NH.

January 7th, 2022

Space Available!

Mount Washington Valley, NH. 

January 28th, 2022

Space Available!

Mount Washington Valley, NH.

Group pricing available. Also available by private arrangement.

AIARE Level I & Avalanche Rescue Hybrid Course –Saddleback ME
Avalanche Awareness, Decision Making, and 
Avalanche Rescue

In Partnership with Saddleback Ski Area

Our AIARE Level I & Avalanche Rescue avalanche education course combines the curriculum of AIARE Level I and AIARE Avalanche Rescue into a sleek three-day package with lots of information. By partnering with Saddleback Ski Area we are able to quickly access terrain in which we can prepare for the threat of avalanches in the true backcountry. 

  • Who’s it for? Anyone who travels in potential avalanche terrain – skiers, snowshoers, climbers, or snowmobilers. 
  • How do we go? Participants may take this course on backcountry skis, split board, or snowshoes.
  • Where do we go? We will utilize the terrain of Saddleback Ski Area in order to quickly and effectively execute rescue scenarios while traveling on skis or boards.
  • Why go with AMG? Acadia Mountain Guides is New England’s original and most experienced AIARE provider and is led by IFMGA Mountain Guide Jon Tierney. Our curriculum meets and exceeds the AIARE Avalanche Rescue curriculum. The Wilderness Medicine skills of our instructors allow us to teach basic backcountry/rescue medicine.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Fitness, clothing, and equipment to ski or hike up to 8 miles round trip with a 10-pound pack.
    • AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2 and Pro 1 courses. AIARE recommends that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue course and receiving a rescue card at least every other year.

2021 – 2022 AIARE Level I Avalanche Education Course Schedule

Tuition: $500.00 -Includes AIARE L1 text hardcopy and PDF, AIARE Field Book, beacon, probe, and shovel, no hidden fees!

Dates 

Location

March 8th – 10th, 2022

TBD

Saddleback Ski Area, ME.

 

AIARE Level I Avalanche Education Course –
Avalanche Awareness, Decision Making, and Basic Rescue

A must for all who travel into the mountains in winter and will help you to understand safe winter travel. It is also a great tune-up for winter travelers who have some experience or prior training. Snowboarders, skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoers, and mountaineers will learn the basics of avalanche hazard formation through the relationships of terrain, snowpack, weather, and people. Participants will learn about interpreting forecasts, trip planning considerations, route selection, travel techniques, educated decision making, and search and rescue skills, including the use of transceivers and probes. The course combines classroom skills with field time to answer these questions: Where is the danger? When is it dangerous? Should we go on? What do I do if caught? (approximately 24 hours).

Our courses are typically structured to begin in the evening of day 1 and have an evening session on day 2 instead of meeting in the morning on day 1. This often allows participants to travel more conveniently. About 1/3 of day 2 and all of day 3 is spent in the field.

  • Who’s it for? Anyone who travels in potential avalanche terrain – skiers, snowshoers, climbers, or snowmobilers.
  • How we go? Participants may take this course on backcountry skis, split board, or snowshoes.
  • Where do we go? Most courses utilize terrain on or near Mt. Washington and the northern Presidential Range.
  • Why go with AMG? Acadia Mountain Guides is New England’s original and most experienced AIARE provider and is led by IFMGA Mountain Guide Jon Tierney. Our curriculum meets and exceeds the AIARE Level 1 curriculum.
  • Pre-requisites: Fitness, clothing, and equipment to ski or hike up to 8 miles round trip with a 10-pound pack.

Have a group? Are you part of a college organization, ski club, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized course for organizations, small groups, and individuals through New England, Eastern Canada. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course in Iceland or Colorado, we would be very pleased to work with you.

2021 – 2022 AIARE Level I Avalanche Education Course Schedule

Tuition: $425.00 -Includes AIARE L1 text hardcopy and PDF, AIARE Field Book, beacon, probe, and shovel, no hidden fees!

Dates

Location

December 10th – 12th, 2021

Space Available!

Mount Washington Valley, NH 

December 14th – 16th, 2021

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

December 28th – 30th, 2021

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

January 7th – 9th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

January 14th – 16th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

January 21st – 23rd, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

January 28th – 30th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

February 4th – 6th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

March 11th – 13th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

March 25th – 27th, 2022

Space Available!

 Mount Washington Valley, NH

Group pricing available. Also available by private arrangement.

Chic Chocs – AIARE Level I & AIARE Avalanche Rescue Combination Avalanche Education Course 
Avalanche Awareness, Decision Making, and Basic Rescue

A must for all who travel into the mountains in winter and will help you to understand safe winter travel. It is also a great tune-up for winter travelers who have some experience or prior training. Snowboarders, skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoers, and mountaineers will learn the basics of avalanche hazard formation through the relationships of terrain, snowpack, weather, and people. Participants will learn about interpreting forecasts, trip planning considerations, route selection, travel techniques, educated decision making, and search and rescue skills, including the use of transceivers and probes. The course combines classroom skills with field time to answer these questions: Where is the danger? When is it dangerous? Should we go on? What do I do if caught? (approximately 24 hours).

Our courses are typically structured to begin in the evening of day 1 and have an evening session on day 2 instead of meeting in the morning on day 1. This often allows participants to travel more conveniently. About 1/3 of day 2 and all of day 3 is spent in the field.

Who should take the course? The AIARE 1 is for anyone, regardless of the travel method (skis, snowshoes, snowmobile, climber, etc.), who wants to travel in or near avalanche terrain. Aspiring professionals will need to take the AIARE 1 and a Companion Rescue course as a prerequisite for the Pro 1 Course.

Prerequisites: Students must travel in avalanche terrain on either skis or snowshoes and possess appropriate clothing to stay warm and dry on cold and windy winter days.

Have a group? Are you part of a college organization, ski club, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized course for organizations, small groups, and individuals through New England, Eastern Canada. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course in Iceland or Colorado, we would be very pleased to work with you.

2021 – 2022 AIARE Level I Avalanche Education Course Schedule

Tuition: $1300 -Includes AIARE L1 text hardcopy and PDF, AIARE Field Book, lodging, breakfast & dinner, beacon, probe, and shovel, no hidden fees!

REGISTRATION OPENS 10/22/2021

Dates

Location

March 3rd – 10th, 2022

Gaspesie National Park, Quebec
Group pricing available. Also available by private arrangement.

 

Chic Chocs – AIARE Level II Avalanche Education Course & Backcountry Ski –
Snow Observation & Stability Analysis

The next step is self-sufficiency in the mountains. The 3-day (24 hours) AIARE 2 Course develops a complete understanding of snowpack development and metamorphism. It provides essential knowledge of snow observation that is fundamental to developing a sound decision-making process and stability analysis. The course begins with a short review of Level 1 material and moves on to address snowpack formation, changes in the snowpack over time, weather influence, development and effects of temperature gradients, hoar formation, and human triggering and release factors. The course emphasizes the use of internationally standardized observation and recording methods. Learn proper techniques for conducting and interpreting snowpit observations, hand assessments, and column tests. 

Prerequisites: Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain on either ski (able to ski inbound black diamonds without falling), snowboard, or snowshoes. An AIARE Level 1 Course or equivalent training/experience and completion of an AIARE or AAA 1 day Avalanche Rescue course is required (may be taken the day before the course). A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is beneficial before taking the Level 2 course but not required.

Have a group? Are you part of a college organization, ski club, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized course for organizations, small groups, and individuals through New England, Eastern Canada. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course in Iceland or Colorado, we would be very pleased to work with you.

2021  2022 AIARE Level II Avalanche Education Course Schedule

Tuition: $1500 Includes AIARE L2 text hardcopy and PDF, AIARE Field Book, observation kit, beacon, probe, and shovel, no hidden fees!

REGISTRATION OPENS 10/22/2021

Dates

Location

February 8th – 14th, 2022

Gaspesie National Park, Quebec

 February 15th – 21st, 2022

Gaspesie National Park, Quebec
Group pricing available. Also available by private arrangement.