Awesome U is SASS Argentina’s backcountry education program designed to make you more awesome. We pride ourselves in giving people a platform to reach the next level. We have integrated a number of different courses into our program to help you get there. Make the Andes your classroom this summer with classes and courses offered through in avalanche awareness, first aid, spanish language, video editing and industry internships.

In addition to Awesome U, SASS Global Travel has teamed up with Sierra Nevada College to offer courses for college credit while at SASS Argentina. This is an unreal opportunity to gain even more value form your educational experience with us. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO…



Getting into the backcountry for the first time is not easy. When new to the backcountry all you know is that you want to get out there, but it is a challenge to find the right people who know what they are doing and are willing to show you the way. SASS Argentina has been introducing advanced skiers and riders to the backcountry in Argentina for the past decade. Our staff is made up of professional mountain guides and experienced big mountain coaches who are eager to show those willing what it takes to be successful in the backcountry an deal with the risks it presents.


TestimonialQuotesLTestimonialQuotesRThe time and energy spent going into the backcountry was definitely challenging, but I pulled through with no regrets and with a whole new outlook on snowboarding and the safety measures taken to ride out there.

— John Kim, 2012 adult session


Every single participant at SASS Argentina receives an in depth seminar on the risk of avalanches before putting their skis or board to the snow. The first day on-mountain we hold beacon drills and avalanche scenarios for practice before entering the backcountry. Once out there, your coach or guide will talk you through the decision making process and why he or she feels comfortable with certain terrain. Conversations about red flags, risk management and situational awareness are constant. We love to answer your questions.

Beyond our standard process, it is highly recommended that if you plan to enter into the backcountry on your own in the future, you take an accredited avalanche awareness course. This is the gold standard first step to becoming a backcountry skier or rider. We offer both the AIARE Level I and Level II courses as well as the CAA Level I Avalanche Skills Training course while in Argentina. After that, it is a great idea to understand basic first aid so that you are fully prepared for any accidents that might happen while far away from definitive care. Check out Awesome U’s avalanche courses and first aid classes below…

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SASS Backcountry Awareness Course (Included and Required)

All clients attending the SASS Argentina program are required to participate in our in-house backcountry awareness course. This program includes a classroom portion and an on-hill skills development  in small groups with the coaching and guiding staff. This part of the program includes:

  • Avalanche beacon and equipment orientation
  • Introduction to backcountry travel techniques
  • Basic companion search skills, with ongoing drills
  • Introduction to identifying /avoiding avalanche terrain

This is a basic avalanche awareness course designed to reduce the risks of our own groups traveling on the mountain, and is not a substitute for an approved certification course. Clients with any interest in continuing to explore the backcountry and side country should strongly consider taking a standardized approved course. See below for more course options… [/engine_toggle][engine_toggle title=”AIARE – Avalanche Level 1″ state=”closed”]

AIARE Level I Course in Argentina

SASS Argentina will offer in-house AIARE Level I courses and welcomes back snow science expert and AIARE Course Leader, Travis Feist. These courses are offered in addition to SASS Argentina’s required backcountry and avalanche awareness program for all clients.

These certificates, issued by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, are recognized worldwide. SASS Argneinta works with professional educators and independently certified AIARE Course Leaders in the field of Snow Science to issue these certificates. Completing your AIARE Level I is the first step to becoming an independent backcountry skier or rider in the United States (Canadians check out CAA Level I below). We strongly suggest taking this course if you plan to spend time in the backcountry back home in the future. This course in conjunction with your time at SASS Argentina will help to build your confidence in uncontrolled terrain and is the perfect starting point for any aspiring backcountry skier or snowboarder.

Course Schedule & Pricing:

The AIARE Level I is completed over 2.5 days and consists of minimal classroom time and predominantly is taught in the field. This is one of the major benefits of taking the course while in Argentina. Instead of the typical powerpoint style teaching, we make sure you utilize the Andes as your classroom and learn the required information while exploring backcountry terrain with your course instructor.

Course Curriculum Summary:

Introduction to Avalanches

  • Types and characteristics
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering

Observations and Information Gathering

  • Field observation techniques
  • Bonding tests: rutschblock, compression test
  • Avalanche danger factors “Red Flags”
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale
  • Trip Planning and Preparation
  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors
  • Companion Rescue and Equipment

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CAA Level I – Avalanche Skills Training (AST)

This 2.5 day course is designed to meet the standards of the Canadian Avalanche Association and is recognized internationally. Designed specifically for skiers and snowboarders, it involves a mix of theory and practical skills to teach you basic safety knowledge for winter backcountry travel. This is the most comprehensive AST-1 course available in Bariloche, Argentina and is taught by one of SASS Argentina’s guide staff, Jon Conway.

Again, taking advantage of this opportunity in Argentina is beneficial due to the fact that you will have minimal classroom time and much more time out in the field with your instructor.

Course Schedule & Pricing:

  • Dates: Sessions 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A and  2B (Aug. 9th – Sept. 6th)
  • Price: TBT

Note: Course schedule is flexible within each session as conditions permit. Because of the inherent nature of weather and terrain, fixed course dates are not available.

Course Curriculum Summary:


  • Instruction by professional Avalanche Safety Educator and CAA Active Member Jon Conway
  • Course manual designed exclusively for Avalanche Safety Training Courses
  • “Avaluator” package for decision-making support
  • Industry recognized CAA Certificate of Completion

Course Materials:

  • Formation of avalanches
  • Factors affecting snow-pack
  • Route finding
  • Safety equipment usage
  • Snow-pack observation and assessment

*Participants must be at least an advanced skier or snowboarder. If you are unsure of your ability, please contact us for more information.

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AIARE Level II Courses in Argentina

Dependent on interest, there may be AIARE Level II courses taking place in Argentina! This stepping stone towards professional-level avalanche education takes Level I skills and brings them into the classroom for more intensive analysis and study into elements of snow science, while honing and developing more advanced on-mountain skills.  The Level II course is a 4-day program (may be modified at the discretion of the Course Leader, provided all requirements are met) that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. The Level II builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the Level I and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation.

*The Level II Program is a more intensive educational program than Level I courses. Personal dedication and self-discipline (for outside reading and study) are required.

Course Curriculum Summary:

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Advance understanding of avalanche terrain, particularly from the perspective of stability analysis.
  • Discuss how the snowpack develops and metamorphoses over time; and discuss the factors that contribute to spatial variability.
  • Learn standard observation guidelines and recording formats for factors that influence or indicate snow stability. SWAG MODULE.
  • Advance understanding of avalanche release and triggering mechanisms.
  • Introduce a snow stability analysis and forecasting framework.
  • Improve companion rescue skills including multiple and deep burials.

Instructional Sessions (40 hours, classroom / field) include:

  • Level 1 Review
  • Energy balance, the mountain snowpack and metamorphism
  • Faceting; near surface and near crust faceting
  • Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers
  • Skier Triggering: theory and observations
  • International and national snow, weather and avalanche observation and recording guidelines (SWAG). – Weather; interpreting forecasts, recording and observation techniques – Snow profile techniques and bonding tests – Avalanche observations and recording techniques
  • Stability analysis checklist: reviewing critical factors – Stability ratings – Daily stability forecasts and analysis
  • Trip Planning and hazard forecasting for avalanche terrain. – The avalanche danger ratings – Terrain analysis using maps/photos – Forecasting stability and variability
  • Terrain selection and route finding – Group management and hazard management – Decision making – Human factors
  • Information gathering – Site selection and relevancy – Spatial variability – Slope tests
  • Companion Rescue – Level 1 techniques review – Multiple burial – Shovel techniques

Student Prerequisites:

Students must have the ability to travel in backcountry avalanche terrain. An AIARE Level 1 Course or equivalent training/experience is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level I course is recommended before taking the Level II course.


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CPR & Wilderness First Aid Certification

In order to be a truly proficient backcountry skier or snowboarder you need to know how to help someone who is hurt. Our favorite people to ski and ride with are our friends, and if something goes wrong, you want to know what to do. If your partner ends up in an avalanche finding them might only be the first of your worries. Knowing how to resuscitate your buddy and get them to difinitive care without making things worse is as important as understanding snow stability in the backcountry. Want to be more awesome? This is one step in the right direction…

Available as an affordable single-day course on a rolling basis throughout all sessions based on interest and availability from American Red Cross certified CPR instructor and SASS Argentina snowboard coach Tony Pavlantos.

Topics include:

  • Primary assessment
  • Ventilations (incl. use of CPR breathing barriers and use of BVMs)
  • Choking (incl. conscious and unconscious)
  • CPR (incl. one- and two-rescuer)
  • AED
  • Optional training in use of epinephrine auto-injectors and asthma inhalers available


CPR/First Aid Certification: 5-Hour class including course materials, supplies and instructions

  • $110 (American Red Cross Standard)




Looking to get as much out of your time in Argentina as possible? Enroll in one of our classes below be become even more Awesome. Learn relevant Spanish from professional Argentinian teachers, take your edits to the next level or become more mobile in the backcountry with a new splitboard. In keeping with our desire for helping our clients reach their full potential we offer a number of classes and courses that will help you grow and learn while in Argentina. Don’t worry, these options will not get in the way of your daily shredding. Make the most out of coming to Argentina. Experience the culture first hand and bring home skills that you can use for the rest of your life.

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Clacesitas: Adventures in Spanish

SASS Argentina welcomes spanish professors Ani Kanter and Carina Falappa back to SASS. As two native Argentinians with a passion for teaching, they offer the some of the most effective and innovative lessons in the region. These clasecitas (little classes) are designed to give everyone the opportunity to learn relevant Spanish for exploring Argentina both on and off the mountain while exploring Argentina’s rich culture.
Note: Each class is subject to a minimum enrollment requirement and may be held on any day during the session as interest and timing permit.

Class Topics:

  • On-hill terminology (Ski and Snowboard language)
  • In the kitchen (How to cook empinadas while speaking Spanish)
  • Wine discussion (Argentinian wine tasting and Spanish terminology)
  • Getting around (Typical conversations while traveling)

About the Instructors:

Ani Kanter Ani graduated from the National University of Córdoba where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Communication. She took Postgraduate courses in the Communication Department and in the Latin American Literature Department in the University of Jerusalem. She has been teaching Spanish as a foreign language for many years in different schools with different programs. Since teaching our language and culture to foreign students, she has invested a great deal of time studying, looking for the best educational proposals and developing suitable materials to fit the needs of students for each offered program. Carina Falappa Carina is an English Translator who graduated from the National University of Rosario. She received a degree in Text Study and Translation from Edinburgh University and has been teaching Spanish as a second language for many years in different schools. Experience has demonstrated to her that a relaxed environment and an atmosphere where the learning process is enjoyable, is the perfect combination for passing on our language and culture. She is convinced that if what is done is enjoyed, that joy is passed on to everyone.

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Splitboard Contruction

Want to make the plunge into splitboarding but not ready to make the financial investment? Splitboard construction isn’t as difficult as you think. Join SASS Argentina snowboard coach and professional splitboard fabricator, Tony Pavlantos, for individualized instruction in splitting your board. Our partners at Soulmax provide the appropriate power tools, while Tony makes sure you have the knowledge and a safe environment to use them.

Pricing & Availability:

  • Voile DIY Split Kit: $150
  • Poles: $60
  • Skins: $140
  • Labor and hands on instruction: $100
  • TOTAL: $450

NOTE: Kits are available in Argentina with advance notice only.


Select one of the courses above by clicking the bar for more information! Or, call 800.851.4660.