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 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, which is bigger than a normal daypack.
  • 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!


  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. We do not 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.
  • There are a few restaurants open in Stanley during the winter.
  • Suggested lodging:

Course Material

We supply a spiral bound AIARE 1 Student 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

Pre-Course Study

AIARE’s online learning module will help you prepare for your course and give you a head start on the course material.

  AIARE 1 Online Learning Module

Weather & Conditions

Our weather and conditions page has links to local weather stations, webcams, and weather forecasts.

  Sawtooth Mountain Guides Weather & Conditions Page

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

  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 Type Definitions by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center
  Avalanche Problem Video 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