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APP Testing Categories and Criteria

The APP holds Clinics several times per year. There is a series of four to eight Mid-Winter Clinics held at various resorts in the Western United States, starting in January through April of each year. The participation at each of these one to three day Clinics, vary, with attendance ranging from 12 to 50 patrollers. Each spring there is a large Spring Clinic attended by 100 to 250 patrollers which lasts for four days. 

Each Clinic may allow Patrollers to test within the nine subject areas: Avalanche RescueAvalanche Science and Evaluation, Explosives (used in Avalanche Control)Hill Safety, MedicalRisk ManagementRope RescueSkiing/Snowboarding/Telemarking and Toboggans.  

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 are from 45 to 90 minutes in length.  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 points. A score of 80 and above is classified as "Certified". A score of 70 through 79 is classified as "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 in the 40 plus 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 another 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 enjoyable 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


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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