Overview of Motorized Avalanche Classes 

For Winter 2021, SAC is offering Level 1, Rescue, and Level 2 avalanche classes for motorized users. It is recommended that classes be taken in that order. All classes follow the guidelines established by the American Avalanche Association, and are free to the public but require advanced registration. Classes fill very quickly, so please read all the following information carefully and be prepared to register on the given date and time. No spaces can be reserved prior to registration. There is a maximum enrollment of 10 people per class. 

To register, please download and complete the participant agreement and participant info documents in advance. Once registration opens, a link will appear at the very bottom of this page. Follow the link to the specific class you're interested in, where you'll be prompted to enter your information and upload your completed documents. Note the dates and locations of classes and when they open for registration. Some classes will run midweek, so check your calendar carefully before enrolling.

Due to Covid-19, indoor classroom sessions are not planned for 2021, and each class will begin with a mandatory online session prior to field days. During field days, participants must wear a face covering when in close proximity to others. Consider a neck gaiter or balaclava (without nose or mouth holes) that would be appropriate for riding regardless of Covid-19. 

Level 1 Classes 

Level 1 classes provide an introduction to recreational avalanche risk management for motorized users. These classes are free, thanks to funding from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission. For details on Level 1 classes, please download the syllabus and read it completely. Participants must:

  • Have the ability to ride off-trail in variable conditions. Participants who struggle to ride off-trail in variable conditions may jeopardize the experience of others - please do not overestimate your riding ability.
  • Bring a functioning beacon, shovel, and probe. Beacons should be modern three-antennae, shovels should be made specifically for avalanche rescue, and probes should be 270cm or longer. Avalanche gear must be worn/carried on self, and not in tunnel bag. An extra shovel in tunnel bag is recommended.
  • Wear a DOT approved helmet and weather-appropriate gear.
  • Ride a reliable, well maintained snowmobile/snowbike, capable of off-trail travel. Machines must be registered with visible registration markings. Spare belts and repair kits are strongly recommended. Poorly maintained machines and/or machines not intended for off-trail travel may jeopardize the experience of others.
  • Read the required materials and apply the Daily Flow and Alerts stickers to machines for easy reference while riding.
  • Bring a radio capable of operating on FRS/GMRS frequencies. A simple speaker/mic is preferable to voice activated systems.

Field days will be entirely in the field, from 9am-5pm each day of the class. Instructors will communicate specific plans prior to and throughout the class. Level 1 dates and approximate locations are the following:

  • Jan 12, 13, 14 in Truckee, with mandatory online session 7-9pm on Jan 7 (agency-specific class for USFS, Sheriffs, SAR, etc. This class is intended for those people who use snowmobiles for work with such agencies.)
  • Feb 5, 6, 7 in South Lake Tahoe, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Feb 3 (opens for registration at 8am on Dec 28th)
  • Feb 9, 10, 11 in South Lake Tahoe, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Feb 7 (opens for registration at 8am on Jan 4th)
  • Feb 19, 20, 21 in South Lake Tahoe, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Feb 17 (opens for registration at 8am on Jan 11th)
  • Feb 26, 27, 28 in Truckee, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Feb 24 (opens for registration at 8am on Jan 18th)

Motorized Avalanche Rescue

Rescue classes provide avalanche rescue practice for motorized users, and can be taken every few seasons to refresh. If you've taken an Avalanche Rescue class recently, please allow some time after registration opens before you attempt to register for another class. Because avalanche avoidance skills should be prioritized over avalanche rescue skills, it is strongly recommended - but not required - that only graduates of a Level 1 register for this class (the Level 1 can be motorized or non-motorized). If riding ability prevents participation in a Level 1, the Rescue class may be a good starting point until riding ability improves. These classes are free to the public, pending funding. For details on Rescue classes, please download the syllabus and read it completely. Participants must:

  • Have the ability to ride off-trail in variable conditions. Riding ability is less important on Rescue classes than on Level 1 and Level 2 classes, but participants still need to be able to ride off-trail in variable conditions.
  • Bring a functioning beacon, shovel, and probe. Beacons should be modern three-antennae, shovels should be made specifically for avalanche rescue, and probes should be 270cm or longer. Avalanche gear must be worn/carried on self, and not in tunnel bag. An extra shovel in tunnel bag is recommended.
  • Wear a DOT approved helmet and weather-appropriate gear.
  • Ride a reliable, well maintained snowmobile/snowbike, capable of off-trail travel. Machines must be registered with visible registration markings. Spare belts and repair kits are strongly recommended. Poorly maintained machines and/or machines not intended for off-trail travel may jeopardize the experience of others.
  • Read the required materials and apply the Daily Flow and Alerts stickers to machines for easy reference while riding.
  • Bring a radio capable of operating on FRS/GMRS frequenciesA simple speaker/mic is preferable to voice activated systems.

Field days will be entirely in the field, from 9am-5pm each day of the class - either Saturday or Sunday, depending on which class you register for. Please only register for one class, either Saturday or Sunday. Instructors will communicate specific plans prior to and throughout the class. Rescue dates and approximate locations are the following:

  • Jan 16th in Incline Village, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 15th (opens for registration at 8am on Dec 11th)
  • Jan 17th in Incline Village, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 15th (opens for registration at 8am on Dec 11th)
  • Jan 23rd in Incline Village, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 22nd (opens for registration at 9am on Dec 11th)
  • Jan 24th in Incline Village, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 22nd (opens for registration at 9am on Dec 11th)

Level 2 Classes

These classes present advanced concepts of recreational avalanche risk management for motorized users. Level 2 classes are free, thanks to funding from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission. For details on Level 2 classes, please download the syllabus (coming soon) and read it completely. Participants must:

  • Take a Level 1 and Rescue class prior to attending. The Level 1 class should have been taken prior to the 2020/21 season. The Rescue class can be taken just prior to the Level 2, and 2021 SAC Rescue classes are scheduled with this in mind. Previous classes don't need to be motorized-specific. Check here for regional providers who offer non-motorized classes.
  • Be advanced riders - comfortable side-hilling to both sides while making adjustments around obstacles, and able to self-extricate from basic stucks. Riding ability is much more important on the Level 2 compared to Level 1 and Rescue classes - please do not overestimate your riding ability.
  • Bring a functioning beacon, shovel, and probe. Beacons should be modern three-antennae, shovels should be made specifically for avalanche rescue, and probes should be 270cm or longer. Avalanche gear must be worn/carried on self, and not in tunnel bag. An extra shovel in tunnel bag is recommended.
  • Wear a DOT approved helmet and weather-appropriate gear.
  • Ride a reliable, well maintained snowmobile/snowbike, capable of off-trail travel. Machines must be registered with visible registration markings. Spare belts and repair kits are strongly recommended. Poorly maintained machines and/or machines not intended for off-trail travel may jeopardize the experience of others.
  • Read the required materials and apply the Daily Flow and Alerts stickers to machines for easy reference while riding
  • Bring a radio capable of operating on FRS/GMRS frequenciesA simple speaker/mic is preferable to voice activated systems.

Field days will be entirely in the field, from 9am-5pm each day of the class. Instructors will communicate specific plans prior to and throughout the class. Level 2 dates and approximate locations are the following:

  • Jan 25, 26, 27 in Truckee, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 21 (opens for registration at 8am on Dec 14th)
  • Jan 29, 30, 31 in South Lake Tahoe, with mandatory online session 7pm-9pm on Jan 27 (opens for registration at 8am on Dec 21st)

Questions 

Please contact Travis Feist, SAC's education coordinator, with any questions.