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!

Due to COVID-19, our avalanche courses during the 2021-22 winter season will have a revised format to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Here are some important details on how our courses will roll out:

  2021-22 AIARE Level 1 Course Schedule

  • Courses will not meet indoors. Participants coming from out of the area are recommended to find lodging in Stanley. Wood River Valley (i.e. Ketchum, Hailey) residents will not need to come to Stanley.
  • We will be following a revised course schedule (see above) that is primarily field-based combined with online or self-directed learning. 
  • Due to the additional time spent in the field, participants are encouraged to dress warmer than normal. 
  • You can learn more about our general operating guidelines during COVID-19 here.

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.
  • 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!


Due to COVID-19, logistics for winter 2021-22 courses will be different. Please refer to the details at the top of this page, and the updated course scheduled that will be emailed to all participants.

Some notes on logistics:

Course Material

We supply a 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

Please refer to the updated course schedule at the top of this page for pre-course study resources.

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