Motorized Level 1

Course Dates, Locations, and Registration Info

All classes are free to the public, thanks to grants from the CA and NV OHV Commissions. Please read all of the information in this document thoroughly before registering. Registration for each class will begin on the date specified, and no spaces can be reserved prior to this time. After registrtaion opens, a “Class Full” note will appear next to dates if the class is full. There is a maximum enrolment of 10 people per class. 

  • Dec 15,16,17 in Tahoe City (CLASS FULL) --- Agency/SAR-specific (conditions permitting with Jan 5,6,7 as alternate dates) --- Class specifically for representatives of SAR teams or agencies (USFS, law enforcement, etc.) who use snowmobiles in avalanche terrain.
  • Jan 19,20,21 in Truckee --- Registration opens Dec 11th at 8am Pacific Time
  • Jan 26,27,28 in South Lake Tahoe --- Registration opens Dec 18th at 8am Pacific Time
  • Feb 9,10,11 in South Lake Tahoe --- Registration opens Jan 1st at 8am Pacific Time
  • Feb 23,24,25 in South Lake Tahoe --- Registration opens Jan 15th at 8am Pacific Time
  • March 2,3,4 in Incline Village --- Registration opens Jan 22nd at 8am Pacific Time

Course Summary

This 24 hour course provides an introduction to avalanche risk management for motorized users. Learning will occur through a mix of classroom and field practice, with an emphasis on field practice whenever possible. This course follows the guidelines for Recreational Level I Avalanche Training as established by the American Avalanche Association.


8am-5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The first two days are likely to begin indoors and transition into the field by mid to late morning. The third day is likely to be entirely in the field. Instructors will communicate specific plans prior to and throughout the class.

Course Requirements

Participants must:

  • Have the ability to ride off-trail in variable conditions.
  • Bring a functioning beacon, shovel, and probe. Essential 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 machine, capable of off-trail travel. Machines must be registered with visible registration markings. Spare belts and repair kits are strongly recommended.
  • Purchase the required text and complete assigned readings.
  • Bring a radio capable of operating on FRS/GMRS frequencies.

Required Text and Materials:

  • Avalanche Essentials, Bruce Tremper, Mountaineers Books, 2013.
  • Rite-in-the-Rain No. 311, 373, or any similar 4 5/8" x 7" field book.
  • Handouts as provided.

Learning Outcomes

The successful student will be able to:

  • Recognize common themes in general risk management systems.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with rescue gear, including completion of a simple, untimed companion rescue scenario.
  • Consider the qualities of riding partners as they relate to risk; including both avalanche and non-avalanche risk.
  • Describe basic relationships between weather, snowpack, and avalanches.
  • Access the SAC advisory and relate the danger rating, avalanche problem, and “Bottom Line” to potential avalanche risk.
  • Use online tools and maps to identify avalanche terrain. Agree on terrain to ride, with buffers for riding partners and potential avalanche risk.
  • Confirm details with riding partners and use a written plan as a group contract.
  • Manage the riding group using communication techniques and spotting/spacing strategies for both non-avalanche and avalanche terrain.
  • Use the SAC Conditions and Terrain checklists to maintain awareness of conditions and terrain while riding.
  • Recognize the benefits of digging below the snow surface for increased awareness of the day’s conditions, and for contributing to lifelong learning.
  • Participate in group discussions that link observed conditions to terrain use.
  • Encourage partners to learn from each day by using daily debriefs.
  • Submit observations to SAC using non-technical language and/or images and videos.


To receive a certificate of completion, attendance and participation in the full class is mandatory.


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