Online Level 1 Avalanche Course

Module 9 Description - Avalanche Decision Making Tools

Main Course Description Page


This is Module 9 of the online Level 1 Avalanche course developed and supported by AlpenPro and offered here in the Avalanche Institute sponsored by the CSAC Avalanche Center. It covers the importance of good decision making, the general approaches that support frameworks can be based on, and a variety of decision support frameworks that have been developed in recent years.

It has become common for courses and instructors to teach the latest trendy method in an effort to appear current. Unfortunately this results in some students learning one method one year and other students learning a different method the following year. There is rarely any presentation of the basis for any method, including the one taught, and advantages and limitations are generally omitted as well. In this module we cover most current methods in use around the world, including their basis and limitations. The student can then make their own informed decision on which framework(s) they wish to apply. They will also understand references made by others to various methods they may not use themselves.

The prerequisites for this module are module 4 (weather), module 5 (snowpack 1), module 6 (terrain 1), and module 7 (Human Factors 1), . This module is a prerequisite for Field Day #2 as well as select post-Level 1 material.


  • List important and unimportant factors for making avalanche related decisions
  • Compare and contrast objective factors vs subjective factors
  • Understand the importance of and need for decision support frameworks
  • Compare and contrast protocols vs judgment
  • Discuss the role and the context of decision support frameworks
  • Discuss each of the following decision making tools - including their background and basis, their limitations, their pros and their cons, and how to apply them:

    • Bullseye information filtering
    • The Avalanche Triangle and the Red/Yellow/Green light method
    • Checklist methods: Checklist-sum, ALPTruth, etc
    • Nivotest
    • Stop or Go method
    • Snowcard
    • Avaluator
    • Munter Reduction Methods
    • The Five snowpack "lemons"


This module covers :

  • Background - factors, frameworks, terminology, etc.
  • Various decision support frameworks, or decision making tools

Each of these is broken down further, the Outline on this page shows more detail.


Welcome, Instructions

 - This part of this page is not yet complete

Wrap-up and Review

Human and technical Resources

This module has complete access to human resources and technical support. There are numerous ways to contact an instructor and to interact with other students. The module has its own forum for questions and discussion, there is a drop box for sending documents (including messages) to other students in the module and/or an instructor, there is a messaging system accessed from the top of the web interface, and there is always email.


There are quizzes incorporated into this course which allow students to check their understanding of the material. Quizzes may be taken as many times as desired, either to obtain a passing score or just to attempt to ultimately get a perfect score.

Quizzes are taken and scored online.

Successful completion of this module requires passing all assessments.

Course material

Most of the materials included in this module are from a workbook developed and used by AlpenPro. A few items are from the Avalanche Center website. Links are provided to external resources where appropriate.