Recent AIARE Improvements and a New Online Class
If you’re in the U.S., there’s a good chance you’ll be taking an AIARE course, so I wanted to convey to our readers what they’ve been working on recently to improve avalanche education in America.
Let’s start with the Pro-Rec split, which AIARE introduced in 2017. It provides different course progressions for recreationalists and professionals. Arguably, the most significant benefit of the split is that both recreationalists and professionals have separate Level 2 courses catering to their respective needs and requirements. AIARE hopes this change will entice more recreational skiers and riders to take a Level 2.
Avalanche rescue has been moved out of the Level 1 curriculum and is now a separate one-day course. This significantly increases the amount of time students will spend learning and practicing rescue, while freeing up time in the Level 1 to focus on risk management.
The Level 1 course moved from the Decision Making Framework to a risk-management process called Plan, Ride, Debrief, which is based on the International Organization for Standardization’s process. The course introduces students to a suite of decision-making tools that enable recreational backcountry travelers to make quality decisions to reduce avalanche risk.
Finally, an online learning program was introduced to better prepare students for a course and, hopefully, reduce mind-numbing power point presentations. I’m not certain if providers have actually been successful reducing classroom time, but certainly e-learning allows students to enter the course a bit more prepared.