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 2020-21 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:
- We will not be offering hut-based courses.
- 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 that is primarily field-based combined with online or self-directed learning. Participants will be emailed an updated course schedule.
- 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 & PaperworkDid you complete our online Client Information and Acknowledgment of Risk?
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!
Due to COVID-19, logistics for winter 2020-21 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:
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:
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
Please refer to the updated course schedule emailed to all participants for pre-course study resources.
AIARE’s online learning module will help you prepare for your course and give you a head start on the course material.
Weather & Conditions
Our weather and conditions page has links to local weather stations, webcams, and weather forecasts.Sawtooth Mountain Guides Weather & Conditions Page
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 ReadingSnow 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
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