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AIARE Avalanche Level 1 – New Hampshire

AIARE Avalanche Level 1 – New Hampshire


Location - New Hampshire

February 11, 2023 - February 12, 2023


Come take your AIARE Level 1 with Backcountry Babes in our women’s focused avalanche course! Backcountry Babes is an AIARE Course Provider and we teach the time-tested and regularly updated AIARE avalanche curriculum.  Additionally, we create a community that inspires, educates, and promotes leadership for women in the outdoors.  This course is taught by Albert Mandell who is an experienced educator and AIARE qualified lead instructor. Our guides (of all genders) support our mission of providing women with the knowledge, skills and encouragement to take on leadership roles in the outdoors.

We cater specifically to women, providing a comfortable, fun learning atmosphere to gain knowledge and skills that help you become more confident in the backcountry. Our AIARE Level 1 course covers awareness of hazardous conditions, dynamics of snowpack and weather, effective teamwork, and how to plan for travel in avalanche terrain. We’ll build knowledge in the online classroom evening sessions, and apply it to our two full field days outside giving you the information and knowledge to make better decisions in the backcountry.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will obtain their AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Certificate of Completion.


Need help paying for an AIARE Course or Beginner Backcountry Tour? Please see if you meet the criteria and apply on our Scholarship Page:

Duration:  2 online evening sessions and  2 field days
Activity Level: Moderate
Required Skill Level: Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain in inclement weather on their backcountry equipment and move proficiently uphill and downhill on gear.  Your skiing doesn’t have to look pretty, but we do need everyone to be comfortable skiing and riding in control and avoiding obstacles on the descent.  If it is your first time using your AT set up or splitboard, we highly recommend taking a Beginner Backcountry Tour to prep for the AIARE Level 1.

Course Dates:

Feb 11 – 12, 2023

About the AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course


Two Online Classroom Sessions

6:00pm - 9:00pm

Our course begins with 2 online classroom sessions on weeknight evenings.  Here we’ll learn about avalanche terrain, snowpack, avalanche problems, case studies of real avalanche accidents, human factors in decision making, interpreting the avalanche bulletin and weather forecast, developing a route plan with online mapping tools, and creating a trip plan.  These sessions will include live presentations with our Backcountry Babes instructors, Q&A sessions, small group breakouts and self-paced work. Homework assignments will be essential to explore online resources at your own pace and to incorporate new knowledge into your backcountry routines.  We will make real trip plans and instructors will provide feedback.  The online learning sessions are the foundation of success for our two full field days on Saturday and Sunday– and will help you incorporate knowledge and build good habits for your future backcountry touring days.

Saturday - All Day Field Day

8:00am - 5:00pm

Today we’ll meet at the trailhead for an all day field day in a small pod of students and your instructor.  Objectives for our field time include learning how to use your beacon, shovel and probe and the daily habit of trailhead checks. We’ll practice up-to-date and efficient techniques for avalanche rescue and learn how to travel together as a group, including conducting moving observations and digging snow pits. Additionally we’ll learn about avalanche terrain recognition and selection, visual clues and red flags.  The day will end with a facilitated and very important group debrief with touring partners.

Sunday - All Day Field Day

8:00am - 5:00pm

Bring all your skills and knowledge from the week into your final tour day.  Students will practice leading a tour under the guidance and supervision of instructors.  Come prepared with your tour plan, and ask as many questions as possible of your highly experienced instructors!  We’ll practice decision making in the field and reassessment throughout including ongoing observations, and skiing and riding techniques.  We’ll wrap up our final field day with the daily debrief. The goal is to send all our student off into the world with a great foundation for making good decisions in the backcountry.  Backcountry travel is a lifelong learning experience.  It’s important to keep up your education with future Backcountry Babes events, our AIARE Level 2, a guided backcountry ski trip, reading, avalanche conferences, and more.  : )

What to Expect

  • Comfortable and fun learning atmosphere
  • Attentive, experienced, & professional AIARE qualified instructors.  Your instructor team may include women and men who support our mission of supporting women in becoming leaders in their backcountry pursuits
  • Engaging classroom and field sessions
  • Appropriate and applicable avalanche safety knowledge
  • Practical experience in the field
  • Includes AIARE Field Book, online Student Manual, and pre-course AIARE Online Learning Module
  • Self-empowerment regarding safe backcountry travel & decision-making

Gear Needed

Backcountry skis or splitboard, ski poles, ski or snowboard boots, climbing skins, avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, avalanche shovel, backcountry backpack, and proper outerwear and warm layers for field time.  A limited quantity of beacons,  shovels and probes are available to rent from Backcountry Babes for $60.  Reserve a set from us when you book and your instructor will bring them to your field day.

– AT ski rental kits and Beacon/Shovel/Probe kits are available to rent from Northeast Mountaineering. Pick up and drop off your rental gear at their shop at 1054 Pinkham Notch Road, Glen, NH.

– AT skis, splitboards, and Beacon/Shovel/Probe kits are all available to rent from Ski The Whites. Pickup and drop off your rental gear at their shop at 211 Main Street, Jackson, NH.

— Our exact touring locations vary by weather and conditions.  We tend to operate in different locations around Mt Washington Valley and we recommend the Quality Inn in Gorham for a central lodging option! Our instructors tend to stay there, and sometimes we meet there in the mornings if we can meet inside 🙂

Field Time

Classroom Time

Getting There

DRIVE: To the Mount Washington Area in New Hampshire.  Gorham or Intervale are both relatively central locations to our touring options.

All potential touring locations are in and around the Mount Washington Valley but are subject to change based on weather and conditions.  Your instructors will update you with location information during your evening online sessions.

Backcountry Babes is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. Backcountry Babes operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest Ranger District.



I appreciated the balance of classroom education and field application. All of the instructors were AWESOME. Approachable, allowing for all of us to ask any question.

Trent KDenver, CO

This course was beneficial in so many ways – We lived backcountry touring for a couple of days and got to go through the motions of trip planning, avalanche observations, and terrain management. I have a great framework moving forward. Our instructors Kirsten, Casey, and Janine did a great job working together. I really liked hearing different perspectives, experiences and styles.

Nathan LLittleton, CO

There is an incredibly positive and high energy stoke level of the female-empowered AND co-ed classroom environment. It is cool to hear our students discuss the value of the learning environment–enjoying growth through our women’s empowerment focus and recognizing the reality that future teamwork will consist of co-ed teams in the backcountry.

Anne St. ClairLead Instructor

This co-ed setup is so cool, as it allows couples to take an AIARE class together in a stigma-free environment where both partners can feel empowered instead of the “token” female among males or vice versa taking an avalanche course. It really flows well with what AIARE tries to accomplish and I think everyone in the group really enjoyed this format and how well the group dynamics worked.

Mike BortnowskiAIARE Avalanche Level 1 Instructor