i'd concentrateon the latter
the whole mandatory aiaire thing is odd
It is under 24 hours of education for a cert where there is no test of competency.
I'm not saying its not a possible good start
but I never took it
took my avvy 2 after 5 or 6 seasons
then a few seasons ago took a semester long snow study course through the geology/meteorology department of the U
for pretty much the same $$$$ the one night a week of class
and field days on friday blew away the aaire aavy cookie cutter class/program w/ +10x the amount of field/ pit work and class time
Even though 1/2 the instructers were aiaire certified because this class focused on snow studies it lacked some of the mandatory aiiare components there was no magic piece of paper at the end.
the knowledge is out there in books youtube viddies, thesises, partners etc
paying instructers is just one possible way of gaining that knowledge but mandatory
When you walk out the door in the morning, what matters most is not what type of skiing you do but whether that skiing is any good. On a waist-deep day, dropping into tight chutes or open bowls, down a sweet line throught the trees where pockets of wind-blown snow create so many natural lips and launching pads... So lets let the dubious bickering within our own sport die with it. The answer is already out there, along with the energy, the freedom, and the truth: What "saved skiing" is SKIING. - Tom Bie