Welcome to the Eastern Sierra Region Avalanche Program!

The avalanche program is in place to help patrollers develop an awareness of the avalanche hazard. Training programs are offered at various times and locations throughout the ski season in the Sierra; look for a course in the Calendar or in the list of resources at the bottom of this page.

Many avalanche courses for the coming season have been scheduled, but always check the calendar for additions or changes. If your patrol has need for a Level 1 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel, contact the ESR Avalanche Advisor listed above for possible additional information. Potential course locations include Heavenly, Northstar, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Homewood, and Tahoe Backcountry.

Summary of NSP Avalanche Education Courses

The NSP Avalanche program is provided to educate and train both ski patrollers, resort guests, and backcountry skiers. The NSP Avalanche Instructor Manual (AIM) was updated in August 2014 and consists of seven course modules. All Instructor resources and the 2014 Manual are available for download by logging in to the NSP website: http://www.nsp.org/members/oms/resourceinstructordownload.asp?src=src1

Avalanche Awareness (AA)

This is a public safety outreach presentation for winter recreationalists 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. It encourages them to take a Level 1 avalanche safety and rescue course. The presentation is also available as an online course available through the NSP website. For youth groups, NSP has partnered with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center to present its Know Before You Go program.

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. By itself, the module qualifies as an introductory-level course that satisfies NSP senior elective requirements in those divisions where avalanche hazard is negligible and providing Module 2 is impractical if not impossible due to lack of representative terrain and snowpack. It does not meet full Level 1 course standards and does not qualify as a prerequisite for enrollment in a Level 2 avalanche course.

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 the American Avalanche Association (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.

Organized Avalanche Rescue

Level 1 Avalanche Module 3 (L1AM3)

It’s a specially designed curriculum to help prepare ski patrollers and other SAR personnel 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.

Avalanche Fundamentals Refresher

Level 1 Avalanche Module 4 (L1AM4)

A one-day module designed to upgrade and refresh Modules 1 and 2 knowledge and skills. It includes both classroom and field components.

Level 1 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.

Level 2 Avalanche for Rescue Personnel (L2ARP)

An enhanced Level 2 course especially designed for organized avalanche rescue personnel. 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.

Course Registration

This form is for use to register for an avalanche course in the Eastern Sierra, Mother Lode or Northern California regions of the Far West Division of the NSP. Please complete the requested information below, which will be forwarded to the instructor of record who will then process your request to attend the selected avalanche course. Specific course details will be forwarded to you. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Use this Google docs form to register for an avalanche course in the Eastern Sierra or Northern California regions of the Far West Division of the NSP. Complete the requested information, and the instructor of record will process your request to attend the selected avalanche course. Specific course details will be forwarded to you by the instructor of record. You will be contacted by email for additional information.

Course Fees

The fees for each course depends upon the type of course, books and equipment, and location. Members of the NSP receive reduced fees for all courses. This application cannot be processed without valid signature on the Event Release and Assumption of Liability documents. These documents will be forwarded to you via email once you complete the following form. Once those documents are received, course fees are due. To confirm the course registration process, speak with the Instructor of Record.

Course Materials

Course fees may include some of these materials, contact the instructor to identify which materials will be used for the course. Each course may also include a pre-course study guide and exam to complete the course. Pre-course study is necessary to gain the greatest amount of knowledge from the course. Satisfactory completion of pre-course study materials, reading the assigned materials are essential to receive a certificate of completion.

Level 1

Level 2

Other Avalanche Resources

How to become an Avalanche Instructor

(See pages 2-24 to 2-27, of the 2014 NSP Avalanche Instructor’s Manual)

Beacon Training