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Discussion Starter #1
Do Level 1 cert classes generally require you to have a splitboard or snowshoes? I was looking around at local schools, and sadly none have posted up a schedule for their 10/11 season offerings yet. Anyways, one of them said you needed to have one or the other. Is that normal, or are there many others that wouldn't require that, and have the on-snow day/s somewhere more accessible by foot or whatever?
 

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You definitely need to have at least snow shoes. Keep in mind to do a good pit analysis you need to find a spot where the snow is deep enough to make it interesting. So plan on at least renting snow shoes. Splitboard rentals are fairly cheap too, but if it's your first time, you probably don't want to be messing with that during your Level I. Any class worth their salt will have a group of snow shoer's anyway, so they tailor the class to that group.
 

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I did my friends of berthoud pass course boot packing it and you def don't wanna do that..... It was miserable

Spend the money and either buy a split or rent shoes at minimum ( =
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok so they've finally posted schedules. Based on everyone's schedules, it's hard to get 3 full days for the Level 1 cert course, and it's around $300-350 in cost. Do you guys think the Avalanche awareness course would be sufficient? It's about $200 and is still 1 full classroom day and then one full day in the field instead of 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Obviously more is better, but that's oversimplifying it. You could also say people shouldn't stop at level 1 and should take level 2, etc... Or instead of getting an entry level beacon we should all get $600 units + avalung, airbag, etc...

The way I see it, I'd rather get all my friends to take a class, than not at all. 3 full days is a tough commitment. The difference in course price is a factor, but not nearly as difficult to overcome as the time. The awareness class is the exact same course minus one field day. I'm just wondering if that will be sufficient.
 

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You'll be a butt hair short of a level I certification is all. You should learn enough to be dangerous out there. The same goes for taking a Level I course though. The things I would look for in the avy awareness course is that it has an emphasis on how to travel in avy terrain. Teaches you multiple snow stability tests and analysis, and of course beacon basics/rescue practice/digging techniques.

Just for the record, many saavy backcountry users I know have just done basic avy awareness or Level I courses. Myself included. They teach you the basics and you can go on from there. Reading books and trying new techniques as you get comfortable with what you already know is key. Level II and beyond is for those who are thinking about more seriousness stuff. I'd say most recreational backcountry riders would be well served to get a Level II cert, but that is about as far as they'd have to go. I'll be getting mine this year, and this is after ten years of bc riding almost exclusively.

Keep in mind if you take the avy awareness course and want to go on, you'll probably have to take a Level I course before taking a Level II. So less money now, and more in the long run if you go that route.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the insight, much appreciated. That avy awareness course does offer the option to add a second field day for an additional $150, thereby gaining level 1 cert. Gotta do some research to see what the time limit is to add that extra day though. Personally, I'll prob sign up for the full level 1 cert course along with a few others, while some may just do the awareness course, so it'll be a mix among our 8+ new BC riders this season :)
 
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