If all of our courses are full, there are other educational opportunities this season via the Flathead Avalanche Center and SOLE.

Registration for 2020 courses opens Dec 1st, 2019 at 09:00 am MST.
Registration questions/problems:
* email
* or call, (406) 359-1484

Instructors for the Avalanche Courses
Our instructional staff consists of highly qualified individuals from our community. We are pleased to have Ted Steiner, Erich Peitzsch, Adam Clark, Jenny Cloutier, Lloyd Morsett, and Lynne Wolf. Each is an active and experienced trainer and backcountry enthusiasts. In order to meet or exceed the American Avalanche Association (AAA) guidelines of student-to-instructor ratio, each course will have one lead instructor and two co-instructors.

All lectures and field study will be held at Whitefish Mountain Resort. All courses will meet on the first day at the WMR Base Lodge, Mt. Jackson Room. Ensuing days consist of lectures at the Summit House and field study in the backcountry immediately surrounding the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Lift Ticket & Access
The resort is providing day use tickets for students and/or instructors who do not have a season pass. During our field study days, the resort will also grant students and instructors lift access at 8:30 am.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations received up to 7 days prior to the registered course are eligible to receive a refund less a $50 service fee. Cancellations within 7 days of the registered course will NOT be eligible for a refund. No exceptions.

Cancellation requests are made on the Eventbrite website OR via email directly to The Patrol Fund, Inc.

Equipment List for Level 1 & 2 Courses
Gear Needed For Field Sessions:
• Whitefish Mountain Resort ski pass. (If you don’t have one please let us know that you need a ticket.)
• Skis or split board (must be fitted with some sort of brake/retention device)
• Skins for skis or splitboards (no snowshoes)
• Boots
• Ski Poles (also required for snowboarders)
• Avalanche Transceiver
• Avalanche Shovel (no plastic shovels)
• Avalanche probe (at least 260cm length would be good)
• Sunglasses
• Goggles
• Sunscreen
• Ski pants or bibs
• Ski jacket or shell
• Warm gloves and/or mittens. I like to bring at least 2 pairs of handwarming clothing
• Warm hat
• Neck gaiter or scarf
• Water bottle and/or thermos
• Lunch/snack food
• Warm Layers (extra insulation for the non-moving time in the pits like “puffy” jackets)
• Backpack with a decent method for attaching skis/board
Snow Study Gear
• Compass
• Inclinometer (compasses with inclinometers are fine)
• Pencil
• Snow saw (required)
• Rutschblock/ECT cord (required). Check Brooks Range or G3 for pre-fabricated ones or check here for making your own
• Magnifying lens/loupe (not required)
• Crystal screen/card
• Folding ruler or marked probe (marked in centimeters)

Gear Needed For Classroom Sessions:
• Pencil
• Notebook/paper/tablet

Optional Gear:
• Camera for reviewing avalanches, pits, or noteworthy terrain observed in the field
• Tablet/phone with wireless connection for accessing remote weather data, avalanche advisories.
• Hand/foot warmers

Suppliers For Snow Study Gear Items:
• Rocky Mountain Outfitter (Kalispell) sells most of the Snow Study Gear and, of course, other stuff.
Backcountry Access
SnowPit Technologies
Snow Metrics
Rite In The Rain (Make sure it is spiral bound, Recommended: No. 313)

Registration for 2020 courses opens Dec 1st, 2019 at 09:00am MST.
Registration questions/problems:
* email
* or call, (406) 359-1484

Level 1 Avalanche Course, $220
The Level 1 avalanche course is an interactive program covering the fundamentals of avalanche hazards including awareness and stability assessments. This three day, 24-hour course consists of 40% classroom time and 60% in-the-field study. Instructors and students travel in and around avalanche terrain.

Course Dates
anticipated Jan. 24-26, 2020 — Weekend
anticipated Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2020 — Ladies Only
anticipated Mar. 10-12, 2020 — Weekday

The course will be following American Avalanche Association guidelines focusing on:

  • Recognizing and travelling in avalanche terrain.
  • Reading, interpreting and using avalanche forecast along with field observations to make competent decision-making plans when entering avalanche terrain.
  • The use of, and rescue skills associated with avalanche transceivers.
  • Field observations of snowpack, weather and terrain along with the elements of snowpack formation.
  • The use and interpretation of stability tests.
  • The human factors that contribute to the decision making process.

Level 2 Avalanche Course, $350
The Level 2 avalanche course is an interactive program is for aspiring backcountry leaders and backcountry companions desiring greater skills and knowledge. This four-day course consists of 40% classroom time and 60% in-the-field study. Instructors and students travel in and around avalanche terrain.

Course Dates
anticipated Feb. 20-23, 2020

Participants will learn to:

  • Plan group travel and systematically manage hazards in avalanche terrain;
  • Observe and record field observations, perform and document a test profile;
  • Forecast instability and danger rating;
  • Demonstrate effective communication addressing human factors;
  • Conduct mock multiple burial companion recovery.


  • Level 1 or Level 1 refresher in last 5 years.
    (Note: Level 2 may not be taken in the same season as the first-time completion of Level 1);
  • Read: Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper;
  • Must be able to efficiently travel in the backcountry with up to 3000-4000 vertical feet of
    climbing using a splitboard or skis.

Registration for 2020 courses opens Dec 1st, 2019 at 09:00 am MST.
Registration questions/problems:
* email
* or call, (406) 359-1484

  • Once you start registration for a course, you will have 8 minutes to complete your registration.
  • If your desired course is showing “Unavailable” please refresh your browser. It’s possible for available registrations & waitlist spots to show up if someone doesn’t complete their registration.
  • If a course shows “Join Waitlist”, please add your name to the waitlist.
  • If a course is showing “Sold Out” it means that all tickets have been sold AND that the waitlist is full for that course.