Coming to Sierra College Truckee: Avalanche education, certification course |

Coming to Sierra College Truckee: Avalanche education, certification course

Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — “As the number of winter backcountry travelers increases, so too does their chance of encountering unstable snow,” shares snow scientist Randall Osterhuber, who will be teaching an interactive course on the Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee from Jan. 26 to May 17. “With proper education and training, nearly all avalanche accidents can be avoided.”

Osterhuber promises a comprehensive investigation of snow safety for backcountry skiers and snowboarders. The first half of the course will address sound decision-making in avalanche terrain, and the second half of the course will concentrate on detailed analysis of snow stability and avalanche hazard.

Course topics will include the avalanche phenomenon, mountain weather, group dynamics, weather and snow profile observation and measurement techniques, terrain analysis, trip planning, snowpack metamorphism and energy balance, interpretation of snowpack tests, and companion/organized avalanche rescue.

Participants who successfully complete the course will be issued American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level 1 and 2 Avalanche Safety Certificates.

The course includes weekly classroom lectures from 6:15 to 9:25 p.m. on Tuesdays and six days in the backcountry on Feb. 5, 6, 19 and 20 as well as March 4 and 5.

The cost is $184 plus materials. Registration is open at For more information visit campus at 11001 College Trail in Truckee or call 530-550-2225.