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How do I avoid being caught in an avalanche? Though the question is short, the answer is complex and there are a multitude of different pathways to explore to help you mitigate your risk in the backcountry. At NWAC, our mission is to reduce avalanche impacts by equipping you, the community, with mountain weather and avalanche forecasts, education, and data.

Below you’ll find lots of educational opportunities and how they interact to help you find the best pathway forward at any skill level. No matter where you are in the process, there is always more to learn, and you’ll notice that the pathway often heads in circles because it is often appropriate to retake a step.

Explore this page and lear more about various programming. The boxes in blue are classes, resources, and pro-gramming created by NWAC while the grey boxes are led or created by our partners.










Avalanche Awareness Course

Free  |  1-1.5 Hours

This virtual class provides a basic approach to managing risk. NWAC instructors will explain how to access avalanche and mountain weather forecasts and recognize basic signs of avalanche danger.

Learn more >

A cycle of life-long learning

Get outside with a trusted and experienced partner to observe and learn by doing.

Find a Mentor 
& Build Experience

Basics for Backcountry Winter Recreation

Free  |  Online eLearning modules

Six modules that will help you get started on the path to safely recreating in the wintertime mountains.

Use these resources at your own pace.

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Laying Tracks 
Workshop Series

$15 for NWAC members, $25 for non-members per session  |  4 Two-Hour Seminars

learn the fundamentals around travel in the wintertime backcountry. Each Zoom Webinar will focus on a skill that helps you build a travel plan and understand your resources for traveling in avalanche terrain.

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AIARE Level 1 Course

Three-day / 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management.

Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and some-one in the party is caught).

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AIARE Rescue Course

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One-day stand alone course that is intended to be retaken on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear.

New participants will learn the basics of companion rescue, while returning participants will expand their skill set with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice to help improve their skills.

Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshops

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Free to Members   |  1-day Workshop

A continuing education series for NWAC members that will help you get the most out of NWAC products & sharpen your backcountry tool set.

Member Webinars

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Free to Members  |  2 Hour Workshops

A continuing education series for NWAC members that will help you get the most out of NWAC products & sharpen your backcountry tool set.

AIARE Level 2

Find a class >

3-day / 14 hour course  

The AIARE 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills by apply-ing their skills to new terrain and situations. 

PRO TIP: Follow NWAC on social media, subscribe to the Backcountry Bulletin, and check out the NWAC Blog. We update these resources frequently and they’re great ways to stay informally connected to the mountains!

Follow NWAC here: 

PRO TIP: Consider retaking an AIARE Level 1. After gaining experience in the 
backcountry you will get more out of the course.

PRO TIP: Getting into the habit of checking the forecast every day and even filling out a blue book can be good ways to track the snowpack so by the time the weekend rolls around you’re already clued into what you be looking for.

Other introductory courses

3-Day Ski Touring Course
Pro Guiding
Learn more >

Introduction to Alpine Touring 
NW Mountain School
Learn more >

Introduction to Touring 
BC Adventure Guides
Learn more >


Read Accident

Using accident reports as a tool for
understanding what can go wrong
is a great way to prevent yourselves from being caught in a similar situation.

Go to the accident report page>

Not only do observations help forecasters build sound products. They also help you start thinking critically about your environment.

Submit an observation >

Submit an Observation

Clubs like the Washinton Alpine Club,
Mountaineers and Mazamas can help
you build connections and gain access to mentorship and instruction

Join a club

We’re lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have access to a lot of great guiding companies and a guided day out is one of the best ways to get one-on-one instruction to help fill gaps and develop your skills for understanding and moving in avalanche terrain.

Hire a Guide

Articles published in The Avalanche
Review improve the knowledge and
skills of its readers through topics
addressing advances in forecasting,
control techniques, education, and

Learn more >

Subscribe to the Avalanche Review

For the past four years we have filmed all the talks from the Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop. Watch these talks to sharpen skills on everything from mental models to the latest in lidar technology.

Watch >

Watch NSAW videos