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Course Description

Person helping with an avalanche rescue

This fast paced course covers all the basics of avalanche rescue in one evening classroom session and one full day in the field. Classroom information will cover how survival statistics direct rescue operations, new technologies in search and survival, triple-H syndrome, resource management and field decision-making tools for rescuers. The field session will include demonstrations and practice in multiple burial scenarios, finding buried victims without beacons, patient packaging & transport and using rope systems to move patients in sleds through technical terrain. Maintaining rescuer safety is a priority that is modeled and taught throughout this course.

A Level 1 or higher avalanche certification is recommended as a pre-requisite. Avalanche assessment skills are not covered in this course. Students must provide all personal equipment including appropriate clothes for a full day in the field, beacon, shovel, probe, and a means to travel in snow- snowshoes or a backcountry ski or split board set-up are all acceptable.

Course Focus

  • Avalanche beacon use
  • Resource management for efficient rescues
  • Strategic shoveling
  • Searching without beacons
  • Evacuation techniques
  • First aid considerations for avalanche victims
  • Scenarios


  • Level 1 or higher avalanche certification is recommended as a pre-requisite. Avalanche assessment skills are not covered in this course.
  • Wilderness First Aid or higher medical certification is recommended as a pre-requisite.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must have adequate health insurance


A certificate of completion is issued to students that successfully complete this course.

Student to Instructor Ratio

6:1 in the field

Time Commitment

12 hours. 3-hour evening classroom session, plus one full day in the field.



Sample Schedule

Evening 1: Classroom
1800 Introductions and expectations
1815 Avalanche bulletins, stability review and travel protocol for rescuers
1840 Survival curve and rescue statistics
1900 New technologies for avalanche rescue and survival
1930 Organized avalanche rescue teams
1945 First aid for avalanche victims: Trauma and Hypothermia, Hypoxia and Hypercapnia 2015 Decision-making tools for rescuers
2040 Case study
2100 Done
Day 2: Field
830 Avalanche bulletin review, beacon and gear check
900 Field session to include:
  • Beacon operation and search principles
  • Probing and shoveling
  • Coarse, fine and pinpoint search
  • Patient packaging and transport
  • First aid scenarios
  • Improvised, emergency and rescue sleds
  • Rope systems for sleds in steep terrain
  • Rescue practice scenarios
1630 Debrief and closure
1700 Done

Gear List

    • Long underwear
    • Insulating layers
    • Outer layers (wind/waterproof)
    • Warm gloves, mitts, headband, and hat
    • Sunglasses (goggles optional)
    • Sunscreen and lip-balm
    • Water Bottle or thermos
    • Lunch and snacks
    • Mid-sized day pack (30-45 liters)
    • Snow travel equipment: snowshoes, split boards and telemark or alpine touring skis (with skins) are acceptable. Cross country ski gear is not adequate for backcountry travel in avalanche terrain.
    • Boots: Must be warm and compatible with your snow travel gear. If you are using snowshoes, you should have some sort of double boots (Sorel or other “pac” type boots). Hiking boots are not warm enough for a full day.
    • Ski poles (with snow baskets)
    • Avalanche probe
    • Collapsible avalanche shovel
    • Avalanche transceiver (rescue beacon)

The rentals through the University of Utah Outdoor Recreation Program are available.

There are also several local stores in Salt Lake City, which have rentals and a complete line of backcountry equipment for sale.


The first evening the course will meet in room 2090 Annex Building, Wing C, at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City Campus (1901 E. South Campus Drive).

      1. From I-80 take exit 129. Head north on Foothill Dr. for 3.4 miles.
      2. Turn right onto Mario Capecchi and go 0.4 miles.
      3. Turn left onto East South Campus Drive and make the first right hand turn (100 meters).
      4. From I-15 Southbound take exit 307. Head east on 400 South for 2.9 miles.
      5. 400 South merges into 500 South. Continue on 500 South for another 1.3 miles.
      6. Turn left onto Mario Capecchi and go 0.4 miles.
      7. Turn left onto East South Campus Drive and make the first right hand turn (100 meters).

* About 10-15 minutes from I-80 or I-15, although traffic may cause delays during rush hour.

The second day is a full field day which will take place within a 1 hour drive of Salt Lake City. The exact locations will be announced on the first evening as it will be dependent on weather and snow and road conditions. You are responsible for your own transportation to the field location and for lunch during the day.


Tuition payment in full is required to reserve your spot in the course. Tuition is payable by credit card on the Umarket website which can be found by clicking on the dates of the course you are interested at The tuition fee covers syllabus, equipment and instruction. RRT is not obligated to allow any student to attend a course until all RRT paperwork has been received, reviewed and approved by RRT. A full refund will be given if we are forced to cancel the course for any reason.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If a student cancels or withdraws from a course:

      • Greater than or equal to 30 days prior to the course starting date, RRT will retain a $35.00 administrative fee.
      • Within 30 days of the course start date and once the course has begun, tuition is non-refundable.

RRT Student Waiver

Download the waiver form here and read it very carefully as it affects your legal rights.

Bring the two-page signed document to the first day of the course. Failure to provide a completely filled out and signed document will result in you not being able to participate in the course. Any activities during unsupervised free time throughout the course are not part of the RRT program and are at the sole risk of the participant.

Course Policies

PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THE COURSE. THIS INCLUDES LEASHING THEM OUTSIDE. NO EXCEPTIONS. Any student bringing pets to class will be asked to leave class until the pet is safely situated in a kennel or other facility.


Attendance is required at all sessions. Students who miss any sessions may not be permitted to continue with the course.

We hope this information is helpful. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.