Avalanche Courses

Learn essential skills and knowledge

Learn simple steps you can take to stay safe and have fun in avalanche terrain. This engaging presentation is grounded in the Know Before You Go Program. Join us at watering holes and other venues across the Flathead Valley in November, December, and January. Host a private session for your employees as a corporate sponsor. 

Open to all recreationists 


This course is an opportunity to get your hands in the snow and gain familiarity with essential concepts and practices for travel in avalanche-prone terrain. With a midweek evening classroom session and a weekend field day, this course offers 11 hours of instruction time. We will cover avalanche terminology, identifying avalanche hazards, snowpack and weather factors, trip planning and preparation, simple decision-making tools, backcountry travel protocols, and companion rescue techniques.

Motorized, Human-Powered, Ladies 


Are you confident in your ability to rescue your backcountry partners in the event of an avalanche? These skills are perishable and important to practice every winter, as well as throughout the season. During the morning portion of this clinic, you will rotate between stations practicing the three key pieces of rescue gear: beacon, shovel, and probe. In the afternoon, we’ll put your skills to the test with a mock companion rescue, including a debrief.

Motorized, Human-Powered, Ladies 


Develop essential skills for snowmobiling in avalanche terrain including trip planning, hazard management, group communication, and terrain choice. This curriculum is designed specifically to meet the needs of motorized users. With one evening/midweek classroom session and a weekend field day, this course offers 24 hours of instruction time.  

Motorized only (Visit The Patrol Fund and The Mountain Guides Montana for human-powered Level 1s) 


Advance your decision-making and avalanche hazard management skills with more field time and deeper study. This course is for motorized users who have had at least a year of backcountry experience since taking their Level 1. Gain understanding in more technical topics as well as competence in application. Over the course of three field days, you will practice field observations, snowpack evaluation, terrain assessment, group communication and more. Visit Flathead Snowmobile Association for information on scholarships.   

Motorized only (Visit The Patrol Fund and the Mountain Guides for human-powered Level 2s) 

Not offered every year 

Throughout the season, we offer a number of other opportunities for continued learning about avalanche research and other topics related to safe mountain recreation. We kick off the season every November with the Northern Rockies Snow & Avalanche Workshop, an afternoon of presentations from experts in geophysical sciences, behavioral sciences, and more. Our regular evening Topics workshops are a deep dive on a single topic. State of the Snowpack, often combined with other events, are an opportunity to learn about current conditions firsthand from the Flathead Avalanche team. Fireside Chats are a conversational forum for open dialogue about the confluence of human and avalanche factors, hosted as a way to debrief recent near misses and share lessons learned with the community.