Top reasons to upgrade your skills in the Rocky Mountains
Learn to recognize hazards in the sublime but volatile backcountry
Enjoy world-class terrain in one of America’s most iconic parks
Jumpstart your avalanche knowledge with a hybrid learning model
Endless fields of untracked snow stretching into the distance, pristine slopes steep enough to make you dizzy—there truly is no country like the backcountry! But when you’re wandering off-piste in search of first-class terrain, you’re also exposing yourself to risk of avalanche. This AIARE Level 1 course is designed to help you make the best of your time on the snow and ensure that no harm comes your way while you’re gleefully shredding fresh powder.
December through March
Denver, CO is two hours away
Book this adventure
AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course in Rocky Mountain National Park
Take advantage of Rocky Mountain National Park’s amazing terrain and fast-track your touring career under the guidance of a professional instructor! Learn how to prepare for your trip to the backcountry, read the avalanche forecast and recognize hazards in this introductory three-day avalanche course.
Your AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course will start with an evening online session two days before joining your instructor in the field. After meeting in Rocky Mountain National Park and performing a departure check, you’ll venture out into the backcountry and learn how to utilize beacons, probes, and shovels. You’ll study the weather forecast, gather field observations and perform snowpit tests. The last day will focus on reviewing the areas covered with your instructor and learning how to manage risk while traveling with groups. Both days will end with a group debrief.
Meet your guide
The Mountain Guides
JHMG knows their stuff! My instructors provided a wealth of knowledge for us to learn from and an awesome attitude that kept everyone stoked.
Very professional! Excellent instructors with a wealth of knowledge and most importantly, they know how to facilitate growth of one’s mountain sense.
Things to know
Covid measures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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, guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, please refer to the state of Colorado’s official COVID-19 update website.
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!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A virtual check-in and introduction into the course
- 2 full days in the field
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Food and snacks
- A $35 vehicle fee at the park entrance
Note: Once booked, you will be given access to an online learning module to work on before the course.
How fit do I need to be?
In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is highly recommended before taking the AIARE 2 course. AIARE or AAA-approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring, telemark, or snowboarding boots (can be rented)
- Skis or splitboard with compatible binding for boots (can be rented)
- Climbing skins (can be rented)
- Ski poles (can be rented)
- Basic avalanche safety gear (can be rented)
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Long sleeve synthetic — medium to expedition weight long underwear
- Softshell or fleece jacket
- Shell jacket with a hood
- Puffy jacket with a hood
- Synthetic or wool long underwear bottoms
- Shell pants — full side zips and built-in gaiters
- Socks — synthetic or wool, sized for your boots and blister protection
- Liners — optional, but recommended
- Gloves – 3 pairs: 1 light, 1 medium, 1 heavy pair
- Medium weight ski hat
- Baseball hat or visor for sun
- Buff or a neck gaiter
- Backpack (30-40 liter ski pack)
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Food you can eat-on-the-go
- Ski goggles
- Extra prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Lip balm
- Headlamp and extra batteries
- Laptop computer
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
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 can be rented from your guides
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from your guides
- Splitboards can be rented from your guides
Ski rental locations are in Estes Park and 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.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- This course is not private. For the group course, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Ski touring in Rocky Mountain National Park can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains, most people fly into Denver International Airport. Estes Park is 2 hours away from the airport, and you can rent a car, take a taxi or ride a shuttle there.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop at Estes Park or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.