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Learn the basics of avalanche safety while having a blast! Based at a premier backcountry in Colorado’s Summit County—Sisters Cabin—this immersive and comprehensive 3-day AIARE 1 course is made for gaining all the essential skills in an authentic backcountry setting. With over 24 hours of lessons, you’ll learn everything from mastering your safety gear to deciphering forecasts and planning your routes. Practice trip preparation, hazard decision-making, communication, and rescue techniques—while also gaining some insights into executing a backcountry hut trip. Picture yourself learning about snow safety while sipping tea or debriefing with a cold beer after a day spent in the field. Bond with fellow adventurers, savor delicious meals, and share stories by the cozy wood stove. Enroll now for an unparalleled course that combines guides’ expertise, carefully curated curriculum, and a winter wonderland setting.

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  • Immersive experience

    Enjoy an immersive AIARE 1 program that combines avalanche safety with authentic backcountry setting

  • Additional insights

    Gain valuable insights beyond avalanche safety, learning the ins and outs of backcountry hut trips

  • Comprehensive course

    Go through a curriculum that covers all aspects of avalanche safety and risk management with +24 hours of lessons

Itinerary

This hut-based AIARE 1 program at Sisters Cabin offers a comprehensive program with +24h of lessons and total immersion in the backcountry environment over 3 days. You will not only have a chance to learn about safety in avalanche terrain in the field (and in front of crackling fire), but you also get meals, as well as some useful insights on how to organize a backcountry hut trip. Needless to say, with this option the superb off-piste areas utilized during the field days are within arm’s reach!

  • The AIARE 1 course in Summit County encompasses a comprehensive set of learning outcomes, divided into four key categories. The first category focuses on equipment proficiency, teaching efficient utilization of beacons, shovels, and probes, conducting thorough pre-trip equipment checks, and understanding essential survival gear. The next category delves into weather understanding, including comprehending mountain snowpack dynamics, interpreting avalanche forecasts, recognizing different avalanche classifications, and familiarizing oneself with various avalanche types. Trip preparation is another crucial aspect, covering route selection, rescue and emergency planning, and effective group management strategies. The final section emphasizes hazards and rescue, encompassing hazard recognition, risk management, decision-making skills, and companion risk assessment. These comprehensive learning outcomes will be covered through a minimum of 24 hours of instruction spread across three days, ensuring a thorough and immersive educational experience.

  • One month before the trip, you will receive various e-materials from your guide that will serve as a preparation for the upcoming AIARE 1 course. You can study the materials at your own pace and get a head start by learning useful information before the course itself.

  • The first day of the course is reserved for classroom education. This will serve as a theoretical foundation for field education in the two following days. The classroom education will take place in the hut—once you and fellow participants settle in. You can expect 8 hours of classes which will consist of regular classroom presentations and trip planning lessons, as well as companion rescue.

    Participants of an AIARE 1 course during classroom education in the Sisters Cabin.
  • Day 2 will resume with some more classroom education in the morning, followed by a field session where you’ll be learning how to make relevant observations in the field.

    An avalanche education participant during an outdoor avalanche terrain rescue lesson near Sisters Cabin in Colorado’s Summit County.
  • Day 3 is arguably the most exciting one as it involves skill application in the field! The day will mostly consist of a student-led tour. Celebrate your achievements with fellow skiers and return to the guide’s basecamp in the afternoon.

    Backcountry skiers and AIARE 1 course participants skinning a slope in Colorado’s Summit County near Sisters Cabin.
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Meet your guide

Colorado Adventure Guides
5.00
Colorado Adventure Guides
Colorado Adventure Guides are dedicated to impact lives through adventure. Their philosophy has always been to share this beautiful place in which we live by providing guests with safe, fun, and educational experiences.
5.00 (5 reviews)
Jeff Kirk (source: Google Reviews)

I took the Aiare level 1 course. These guy did a great job and made the course fun. I learned a ton and am confident in my new skills. I highly recommend them.

Jeff Orford (source: Google Reviews)

My 16-year-old son and I took an Avalanche 1 course thru CAG. There were many things that were excellent, but the thing that sticks out in my mind is how respectfully the instructors spoke with my young man, it made the experience extra special for him.

Nathan Miller (source: Google Reviews)

I’ve been very impressed with CAG. I’ve taken a Avalanche education course and used them for guiding a ski tour. They run a very professional operation, seem very skilled, and generally are just nice people. I’d recommend them highly.

Dustin McQuate (source: Google Reviews)

Took the 3 day AIARE 1 course with Justin and Sunshine as my instructors. Both Justin and Sunshine were organized, extremely knowledgeable and did a great job of conveying the course material in a logical, easy to understand manner, during the classroom portion. We toured with each guide for a day and they were both terrific in the field. I especially appreciated that they employed just the right combination of instruction mixed with allowing the students to do for themselves. Both were always available to answer any and all of the many questions we had. Most importantly, I feel as though CAG gave me the tools and base knowledge to gain more experience on my own and to become safer in the BC. I’m sure Ill be heading back to CAG for more education/ guiding in the near future. I couldnt be happier with my experience with CAG.

Professional, Knowledgable, and Fun
Dylan B. (source: Tripadvisor)

Justin and Sunshine at Colorado Adventure Guides were great! My partner and I took the AIARE 1 course with CAG in early December 2019. Both instructors were professional, friendly, knowledgeable and fun to be around. We took the 3 day course; day 1 was a classroom day with the next two as field days. Safety started before even being at the trailhead. Both Justin and Sunshine were able to give us concise comments when practicing in the event of a burial.
When searching on the AIARE website, CAG appeared to be the most affordable provider.
Overall, great instructors with great attitudes. 10/10 would recommend!

Things to know

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • An experienced, AIARE-certified guide(s) with extensive knowledge of the area
      • A day of classroom education and 2 days in the field
      • E-Learning materials and Student Manual for AIARE Level 1 (sent one month prior to course)
      • Student manual and weather-proof AIARE field book
      • Use of beacon, shovel and probe (if needed)
      • Accommodation in the hut (2 nights)
      • Meals (breakfast and dinner)
      • Friends of CAIC Trailhead Membership
      • Transportation from designated meeting place to the trailhead

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented directly from your guide) and clothing
      • Alcoholic beverages
      • Lunches
      • Transportation to and from the designated meeting place
      • Travel Insurance
      • Guide gratuities—optional
  • In order to get the most of this AIARE Level 1 course at Sisters Cabin and given that it is physically demanding, you need to have a very good level of fitness. For your safety and the safety of other participants, you will need to disclose any relevant information about your health. While the information provided remains confidential, it is crucial for the guide’s use and may be shared with medical and/or rescue personnel in case of emergencies.

  • No prior backcountry experience is required to take this course. However, it is highly recommended that participants with touring gear have experience on their setup beforehand and feel comfortable in steep blue to black terrain at a ski resort. This familiarity will contribute to a smoother learning experience and help ensure a level of competence when venturing into the backcountry. The course is designed to introduce and educate participants on backcountry skiing or splitboarding, providing the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the terrain safely.

  • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

      • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
      • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
      • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
        • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
        • Lightweight snow shovel
        • Avalanche probe

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

      • Helmet — optional
      • Sunglasses or ski goggles
      • Gloves and brimmed hat/visor
      • Light gloves for uphill travel
      • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Down jacket or vest
      • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
      • 1L water bottle
      • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
      • Sunscreen
      • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (a 40L backpack)
      • Pillow case, sleeping bag, and head lamp (only for the Hut-Based Course)
      • Camera — optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

      • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their Silverthorne, CO Basecamp (no additional fee)
      • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their Silverthorne, CO Basecamp
      • Splitboards can be rented directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their Silverthorne, CO Basecamp

    Ski rental locations are in Silverthorne, CO and equipment should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements. You can rent your gear package upon booking at a discounted rate.

  • Although this tour is primarily designed as an AIARE Level 1 course, it offers flexibility to be adapted into different types of adventures. For instance, during the same dates, Sisters Cabin can be utilized to facilitate a traditional weekend hut-based backcountry trip or an introduction to hut trips. The latter option allows you to learn the intricacies of planning and organizing your own hut-based backcountry trip. If you are interested in embarking on this type of adventure with a group of fellow participants, please contact us to make the necessary arrangements. We are here to cater to your specific interests and preferences.

  • Nestled amidst the captivating backcountry terrain near Silverthorne and Breckenridge, Sisters Cabin offers a unique blend of comfort and convenience in a remote setting. The cabin features three upstairs rooms with a total of 14 beds. It is reserved exclusively for one group, ensuring privacy and an intimate atmosphere. The cabin is well-equipped with amenities including propane cooktops, a propane oven, a wood-burning heat stove, firewood, cooking and eating utensils, mattresses, solar-powered lighting, indoor composting toilets, and a wood-burning sauna.

  • Group sizes and pricing:

      • For this group course, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1.
      • Cost is per person and doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

    AIARE 1 courses in Summit County, CO can be arranged for larger/private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Summit County, most people fly into Denver International Airport just under 2 hours away from Summit County. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, they will suggest the best time and place to meet. The meeting place may be your guiding service’s basecamp in Silverthorne, CO, but you will receive more details in the weeks prior to the course dates that will include the exact meeting time and location.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Summit County, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies:

    • Cancellations made more than 14 days in advance: full refund less a 10% administrative fee.
    • Cancellations made within the two week period:
      • If your guides  are able to fill your spot, they will refund your payment less a 10% fee.
      • If they cannot fill your spot, you will be charged the full amount.
    • No-shows will be charged the full price.

    An administrative fee of 10% will be assessed for all rescheduling. Rescheduling will be honored 48 hours prior to guided adventures and 14 days prior to any course or camp start date. If you need to reschedule within the two week period, and your guides are able to fill your spot, they will reschedule your booking with a 10% fee. If they cannot fill your spot, they will be unable to reschedule.

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