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APP Testing Categories and Criteria

We offer educational and testing clinics and certification courses December through May. Each testing clinic consists of skiing/snowboarding/telemark proficiency, toboggan handling, risk management & accident investigation, hill safety, rope rescue/qualified lift tower climbing/lift evacuation, avalanche education (Pro 1 curriculum), explosives use in avalanche mitigation and medical skills testing.

Continuing Education is available for avalanche professionals through avalanche science & mitigation and professional avalanche search and rescue (Pro AvSAR) clinics. Medical Continuing Education for current EMT, Paramedic, RN’s, etc… highlighting outdoor and backcountry medicine. 

    The participation at each of these regional Mid-Winter Clinics vary with attendance ranging from 50 to 75 patrollers. 

    The Annual Spring Clinic, 5-days at the end of the season (typically end of April into first week of May (snow and facility dependent). This is open invitation for all participating individual and patrols to come together for education, testing, and socializing. This is the culmination of the season's hard work in training, it is generally attended by 250 to 500 patrollers which lasts for five days.  

    • Risk Management from risk-claim specialist from Mountain Guard and/or Wells Fargo.
    • Medical topics from area physicians, local professional SAR groups, and specialize paramedics.
    • Avalanche Science including past topics covered by meteorologist from NOAA, local Avalanche Centers, and A3 Professional Level 1 topics & curriculum. 
    • Professional Avalanche Search & Rescue (Pro AvSAR
    • Rescue in an austere environment, industrial-tower climber rescue.
    • Testing in all 9 disciplines to obtain Certified Patroller Status. 
    • And various other topics. 
    • Networking among patrollers, vendors, sponsors, along with industry professionals to gain knowledge and best practices within the industry. 




    For Patrol Director Sign Off to participate in the Testing, download this PDF document and bring with you to the next clinic you attend. 

    Written Tests:  There are eight disciplines which require a written test first before taking the practical exam (Ski/Board/Telemarking discipline does not require a written test).  The written portion must be passed first before taking the practical portion. The Patroller must achieve a written test score of at least 80%, which allows the patroller to proceed to take the practical exam/interview. The written tests are comprised of 15 to 25 true/false, multiple choice or short response type questions.  The written tests are designed to examine the Patrollers' general and specialized knowledge within each discipline.  As a result, the goal of the written tests is to filter out those patrollers who aren't ready to take the practical exams.  

    Practical Exams:  The practical exams vary in length depending on the discipline.  Oral questions and answers are part of all testing scenarios with the exception of the Ski/Board/Telemarking test.  The exams consist of hands on and/or an oral question and answer format.  The result of the practical exam is what will determine the status of a patroller for that subject and is judged on a scale of 1 through 100 percentage points. A score of 80% and above is classified as "Certified". A score of 70 through 79 is considered "Associate". A score below 69 and below is "Sustaining". When a patroller achieves an "Associate" score in all nine subjects, he/she is then classified as an "Associate Member". When a "Certified" score is reached for all nine subjects, the patroller then is considered to be a "Certified Member".              

    Over to 600 patrollers have achieved a "Certified" status over the past 50 years of testing.  If you take a written or practical exam at a clinic and do not achieve a Certified Status, then you may not take the same written or practical exam until the next Clinic.  There is a Head Judge who is responsible for content and grading in each subject area and he/she will be happy to review the results of your testing at the Clinic.  If you are an APP member, and would like to audit a Practical Exam during a Clinic, that is allowable with the permission of the candidate patroller and the Judge.  

    The Certification process is meant to not only be an incredible learning experience, but we strive to make the clinics and process as educational as possible.

    The nine Testing Categories are as follows, and more information is contained on their individual pages:

    1. Avalanche Rescue

    2. Avalanche Science and Evaluation

    3. Explosives (used in Avalanche Control)

    4. Hill Safety,

    5. Medical,

    6. Risk Management

    7. Rope Rescue

    8. Skiing/Snowboarding

    /Telemarking

    9. Toboggans

    If you are new to APP testing you must have your Patrol Director Sign Off on your participation. Download this PDF, fill it out and seek your patrol director sign-off and bring with you to your next APP clinic.


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