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The best way to learn about avalanches and how to avoid them is to take an avalanche class from a qualified instructor. You can get a good introduction to understanding avalanches, though, by studying avalanche articles, books, and videos. It's also important to keep your skills current and the following resources provide a great way to brush up on skills and keep up with the latest technology, theory, and professional practice.
These are our favorite books to get you started and to re-read every winter:
Web Tutorials
  • Know Before You Go eLearning Program. A free, online learning program that is a great season refresher or pre-course learning program prior to taking an Introduction to Avalanches or Level 1 course.
  • New Zealand Online Avalanche Course This is a great collection of photos, videos, and text that walks you through the basics of traveling in avalanche terrain, covering (quickly) all the topics that you'd encounter in an avalanche class. It includes an interactive game in which you can test your ability to make navigation choices in complex terrain. Be aware that this is for a Southern Hemisphere audience, so flip South and North Aspects in your head as you watch this north of the equator.
  • Throttle Decisions This is a Canadian video series intended to show motorized users what they need to know to get out, have fun, and stay alive in avalanche terrain. Get a comfortable place to sit, grab some refreshments, and be prepared to think about where you go and how you ride and make decisions.
  • BCA Education Series Backcountry Access has produced a series of videos with topics like backcountry tour planning, avalanche safety for snowmobilers, and how to properly use your transceiver, probe, and shovel.
  • How to Read the Advisory The avalanche advisory is designed for people who have taken a Level 1 avalanche class. For those without much formal avalanche education, this is a quick tutorial on the basics of the avalanche advisory.
  • Avalanche Danger Ratings We use a 5-point danger rating system, which is a standardized international scale. Did you know that most fatalities occur in the middle level of Considerable or that the scale is not linear? Well, read on.
  • Avalanche Watches and Warnings Confused about Watches and Warnings? You're not alone. Here is a quick tutorial.
  • Avalanche Problem Toolbox There are a number of different kinds of avalanches. Each one is very different; how they are created, where you find them, how to recognize, how to manage and how long they last.
  • Avalanche.org Overview of simple steps to take to understand avalanches and how to avoid them.
  • Avalanche Canada Online Avalanche Course Multiple chapters introducing the basics of recreational avalanche safety. Understanding the principles of avalanche formation, and ultimately avalanche types is the foundation for understanding avalanche danger.
A collection of avalanche educational products created especially for the snowmobile community.
Video Tutorials