Avalanche Level 1 in Cooke City

Any level
3 days
All ages
1–5 people

Come spend three days taking our Avalanche Level 1 course at the Woody Creek Cabin the Absaroka Range just above Cooke City, MT. Located just below the treeline, it's a great place to learn about terrain and snowpack.

Going into the backcountry is easy and fun. Making safe decisions aren’t always straightforward when you’re in the field. A fundamental part of any backcountry adventurer’s toolkit is avalanche awareness.

During the three-day course, participants will be exposed to techniques and skills required to be a competent backcountry partner. Each day will include a combination of lectures and field sessions. Students will get plenty of hands on experience learning about:

  • Snowpack layering and formation
  • Snowpack tests and other observations and how they relate to avalanche forecast
  • Terrain Identification (avalanche paths, slope shape, aspect, slope angle)
  • Terrain management (uphill and downhill travel)
  • Mountain Weather Concepts (wind, precipitation, temperatures)
  • Snow climates
  • Avalanche types and concepts
  • Decision making skills
  • Interpreting the Avalanche Bulletin (hazard rating and type)
  • Beacon use and rescue training
  • Skiing some powder!
Prerequisites for avalanche education

All participants need to be comfortable making ascents and descents in a variety of snow conditions.

We also recommend reading
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper
  • Snow Sense by Doug Fesler and Jill Fredston

All of our coursework is based on the guidelines of the American Avalanche Association.

  • For a complete syllabus, click here.
Where we are
Class Location
Cooke City, Montana
Meeting Location
Woody Creek Cabin
What's included
  • Lodging, food and all course materials
  • 3% resort tax



Once you book your course, we'll contact you about what gear you need to bring!

Why book through 57hours?

We’re an adventure loving, rock climbing, tech company that loves all things outdoors-y. Why spend days looking for the right guide and adrenaline rush, when we can (and already did) do it for you? Want a serious guide for a challenging backcountry tour? We know a bunch. How about a guide to show you around the Alps? Check. Maybe your kids want to ski and won’t stop going on about it until you book them a trip. Yes, we know guides who are great for beginners, too. Oh, yeah, every guide we know prioritizes SAFETY and FUN. Book with 57hours, we’ve done your work for you. You’re welcome.

Guides running this program

Ben Zavora

Owner of Beartooth Powder, Ben Zavora has been leading his friends, family and clients around the mountains for the last 20 years. He turned his passion into a profession by founding Beartooth Powder Guides in 2012. He has volunteered and been a board member for the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center for the last 13 years, which includes assisting in field sessions on avalanche awareness courses for snowmobilers. Ben has completed a Level 3 Avalanche course and spends time every year in pursuing Avalanche Education events to stay current with the most recent Avalanche research.

Ben has completed his AMGA Aspirant Exam and is looking forward to completing his AMGA Ski Exam in the near future. Ben has skied extensively in Southwest Montana, the Sawtooths, the Eastern Sierras and in Europe, New Zealand and South America. Ben is eager to share his enthusiasm for the mountains around Cooke City with you, contact him to discuss your Cooke City POWDER experience! Ben is available at info@beartoothpowder.com.

Nina Hance

Nina was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, and is an AMGA certified ski guide. She grew up chasing her parents around the mountains of Montana and Alaska. She spent the first three years of her career guiding for a heli and snowcat-skiing operation in Alaska. She has also worked as an intern for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center for two seasons. In summers, Nina teaches horseback riding and enjoys rock climbing and mountain biking.

Alan Oram

Alan is a Bozeman, Montana, local and is an IFMGA/AMGA certified Mountain Guide AND a Physician board certified in Emergency Medicine. He has skied and climbed extensively throughout the Western US, Canada, Alaska and Europe. The Beartooth Range and Cooke City are his local place and one of those areas that though little known, have some of the best skiing in the world. Read more on Alan’s website.