Far West Division Avalanche Program
Keith Church
Far West Division Avalanche Supervisor

OUR GOAL
The National Ski Patrol Avalanche Program's goal is to provide premier avalanche safety and rescue education, specifically designed for the needs of patrollers, mountain search and rescue teams and members of the public participating in snow recreation (skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, snowmobilers and climbers). To achieve this goal, the program provides distinct curricula appropriate for different stakeholder needs and different geographical conditions. All course curricula meets American Avalanche Association (AAA) guidelines for avalanche education.
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OUR COURSES
Avalanche Awareness (AA)
This is a public safety outreach presentation for winter recreationists who have a casual interest in avalanche safety. It exposes people to the nature of avalanche hazard and what they need to learn before venturing into avalanche terrain.
Prerequisite: none.
Time commitment: flexible, 30-90 minutes.
Grading: none.

Level 1 Avalanche Module 1 (L1AM1) - Avalanche Foundations
Level 1 Avalanche Module 1 (L1AM1) provides the classroom component of a Level 1 avalanche course. It introduces fundamental concepts and principles of avalanche hazard, safety, and rescue, but it does not include skill development in the field.
Prerequisites: none.
Time commitment: minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction.
Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam.

Level 1 Avalanche Module 2 (L1AM2) - Avalanche Safety and Rescue Skills
Level 1 Avalanche Module 2 (L1AM2) provides the field component of a Level 1 avalanche course. This module, when combined with Level 1 Avalanche Module 1, completes a full Level 1 course that meets guidelines established by AAA. It covers basic avalanche problem recognition, including weather snowpack and terrain observation and evaluation; route selection, decision making, survival, self-rescue and small group rescue methods.
Prerequisites: Level 1 Avalanche Module 1 within the previous three years (a pretest may be required); ability to travel in steep, ungroomed, snow-covered terrain, under adverse weather conditions.
Time commitment: minimum of 16 hours of field instruction and practice.
Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on evaluation of field skills.

Level 1 Avalanche Module 3 (L1AM3) - Organized Avalanche Rescue
Level 1 Avalanche Module 3 (L1AM3) is a specially designed curriculum to help prepare ski patrollers, SAR personnel and other rescuers for organized avalanche rescue responsibilities. It introduces organized rescue principles and skills, management structure, special decision-making problems and strategies. It is considered to be the minimum level of rescue education for these personnel.
This module is strongly recommended for all patrollers who may patrol or recreate at areas that have known avalanche hazard. Some divisions require this module as a requirement for senior classification. Some area patrols require this level of avalanche education as a condition of membership.
Prerequisite: NSP Level 1 Avalanche Modules 1 and 2, or an equivalent full Level 1 avalanche course or refresher within the previous three years; FEMA IS-700(b) course certification.
Time commitment: minimum of 8 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.

Level 1 Avalanche Module 4 (L1AM4) - Avalanche Fundamentals Refresher
Level 1 Avalanche Module 4 (L1AM4) is a one-day module designed to upgrade and refresh Modules 1 and 2 knowledge and skills. It includes both classroom and field components.
Prerequisite: Prior completion of NSP Level 1 Module 2 or any full Level 1 avalanche course for recreationists that meets AAA curriculum guidelines.
Time Commitment: minimum of 8 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.
Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam and evaluation of field skills.

Level 1 Avalanche Module 5 (L1AM5) - Avalanche for Rescue Personnel Refresher
Level 1 Avalanche Module 5 (L1AM5) is a half-day refresher designed to upgrade and refresh Module 3 organized avalanche rescue skills.
Time commitment: minimum of 4 hours of instruction, at least 60% in the field.
Prerequisite: prior completion of Level 1 Avalanche Module 3.
Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on written exam and evaluation of field skills.

Level 2 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel (L2ARP)
This is an enhanced Level 2 course especially designed for organized avalanche rescue personnel and snow recreationists seeking to improve their overall avalanche and leadership skills. Subject matter develops advanced avalanche hazard evaluation skills for a given time and place, and basic hazard forecasting skills projected over a longer time span and larger territory. It introduces risk management strategies, leadership principles for safe travel to an avalanche incident site, conducting immediate search and extended operations; incident alerting and rescue planning, incident and rescue documentation and reporting. It is a prerequisite for entry into NSP avalanche instructor development.
Time Commitment: minimum of 32 hours of instruction (often as much a 40 hours), at least 60% in the field. Scheduling is flexible to accommodate instructor and student availability, but may not extend from one season to the next. Pre-course study and homework between sessions is usually required.
Prerequisites: NSP Level 1 Avalanche Modules 1 and 2. L1 Modules 3 or 5 within the previous three years; at least one intervening season of additional experience in the field; FEMA IS-100(b) course certification (available online at no cost).
Grading: Pass/Incomplete/Fail based on final written exam, simulated rescue report and field skills.

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COURSE AVAILABILITY & COST
Courses are scheduled throughout the snow season. Some L1M1 courses may be offered before the snow flies. Course offerings may be found at www.nsp.org and on division and region website calendars.
Cost varies from course to course and typically ranges from $75 to $150 for a complete Level 1 class and $150 to $250 for Level 2 class. Discounts are usually available for ski patrollers, SAR members and National Forest Service personnel. NSP is a federally-charter nonprofit organization. Instructors are unpaid volunteers. Course fees are charged to cover program maintenance and course-related expenses (e.g. travel, equipment and printing costs).
Some courses may be restricted to a certain class of students (e.g. SAR teams) or may offer priority registration to rescuers (e.g. ski patrollers). Unless otherwise noted, most courses are open to the public.

OUR INSTRUCTORS
Avalanche instructors are trained and mentored for years to earn their instructor credentials. Our instructors are highly competent field practitioners and exceptional educators with varied backgrounds and experience. They must meet active teaching and continuing education requirements in order to maintain their instructor certifications.
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Keith Church
FWD Avalanche Supervisor
VP, SoCal Avalanche Center
Mobile: (909) 652-2573
www.socalsnow.org