Thank you for choosing Sawtooth Mountain Guides for your avalanche course! This page will help you prepare and get the most from your course. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Forms & Paperwork

  Did you complete our online Client Information and Acknowledgment of Risk?

Equipment

  Equipment List

Some notes on gear:

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, or a splitboard setup are required.
  • For hut based courses, you will be asked to carry in a basketball-sized bag of food and a small sleeping bag liner. A pack of 40-50L is generally required.
  • Please make sure your equipment is in good working order and you are familiar with its operation. Instructors are always happy to offer tips for using your equipment, but time during an avalanche course is limited.
  • We require a modern, minimum 3-antenna beacon. We may be able to provide one if necessary.
  • Make sure your avalanche beacon has fresh batteries and that you know how to assemble your shovel and probe. We can supply avalanche rescue equipment if needed.
  • We recommend purchasing an inclinometer and snow saw – you will find these very helpful!

Logistics

  Printable Map to SMG Headquarters
  Hut-Based Course Agenda
  Stanley-Based Course Agenda

Some notes on logistics:

  • All avalanche courses meet at 8am at the Sawtooth Mountain Guides Headquarters in Stanley.
  • Please show up dressed to head outdoors.
  • Courses based at the Williams Peak Hut include all food from lunch on day one through lunch on day 3. Due to Idaho state law, we aren’t able to provide alcoholic beverages, but you are welcome to bring your own up to the hut.
  • Stanley-based courses do not include food or lodging. Days typically run from 8am to 6pm.
  • If you need lodging, the Stanley Town Square offers rooms and condos above our Headquarters. Jerry’s Cabins & Motel a few miles down the road offers clean rooms at affordable rates. There are a few restaurants open in Stanley in the winter.

Course Material

We supply a spiral bound AIARE 1 Course Manual and waterproof Field Book at the start of the course. If you wish to review the manual or field book beforehand, you can download it below. Please do not share these links.

  AIARE Level 1 Student Manual (password protected, check confirmation email)
  AIARE Field Book

Terrain Maps

If you wish to preview and familiarize yourself with the terrain used during the field sessions, you can download the following topo maps:

  Williams Peak Hut Map (Hut Courses)
  Galena Summit Map (Stanley Courses)
  Banner Summit Map (Stanley Courses)

Recommended Reading

  Snow Sense, Jill Fredston & Doug Fesler
  Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper

  AIARE 1 Pre-Course Study
  The Human Factor online series by Powder Magazine
  Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek by the New York Times
  Avalanche Danger Scale Video by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center
  Avalanche Problem Scale Video by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center
  Avalanche Character Definitions by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center

Course Evaluation

We are passionate about providing the best avalanche course possible and are always striving to improve. At the end of your course, please complete our online course evaluation and offer any feedback you believe will help create a better course.

  Online Course Evaluation