National Ski Patrol

Module 1: Avalanche Foundations
Module 2: Avalanche Safety & Rescue Skills
Module 3: Organized Avalanche Rescue

with emphases on pre-course preparation and backcountry travel

These course modules are designed for the motivated student willing to commit to significant pre-course study and preparation. The goal is to utilize the inherently limited in-person time only for those learning opportunities that are not available through published educational resources. Modules 2 and 3 also require backcountry ski equipment, with an accompanying fitness level and skiing skills for Module 2 to complete the highly demanding tours as featured in prior years of the course.

Please read all the pages on the course website carefully before registering for the course. If the website seems too complicated or otherwise difficult to follow, then you should take an avalanche course from a different provider.

You can read about the course in this article (on p. 25) published by the American Avalanche Association's The Avalanche Review.  (The course was also the subject of a presentation at the November 2011 first annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop.)  Note that the modular approach that this course pioneered back in 2010 has now been adopted for all NSP courses starting in the 2014-15 season.

Yet even with all the extensive pre-course preparation and field time, the full Level 1 course is still NOT a substitute for a Level 2 course. Instead, the goal of the full Level 1 course is to cover the typical Level 1 curriculum in a more thorough manner, both in the classroom and out in the field. By contrast, any Level 2 course would require students to develop a much more in-depth knowledge of snow science and to conduct their own snowpit analyses and stability tests.  At the Level 1 course, snow science is relatively deemphasized, and stability assessment is merely demonstrated by the instructors.

For additional training that complements an avalanche course, here is an example of an introductory-level NSP Mountain Travel and Rescue course.  And here is an example of an integrated Level 2 course for Avalanche and Mountain Travel/Rescue.