Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in Aspen
Take in the dramatic views from the Aspen Highlands
Conquer the lengthy and challenging cruisers of Aspen Mountain
Get a taste of Buttermilk’s superb powder and beginner-friendly tracks
Eager to explore the abundant Aspen backcountry? Brush up on your winter terrain skills with the AIARE Companion Rescue course. It is perfect for those who’ve taken AIARE Level 1 and are looking for a refresher, or for those looking to take their learning further with AIARE Level 2. With this course, you get to learn in the always awe-inspiring Aspen! Learn the basics of companion rescue – how to react and what to do if a member of your group is caught in an avalanche, and familiarize yourself with gear used in avalanche rescue. Each participant will get to set up a realistic scenario to practice avalanche rescue response techniques. Experience the magic duo of safety and fun which awaits in Aspen! Find out more about managing backcountry risk and avalanche awareness from an AMGA/IFMGA guide Rob Coppolillo.
December through March
Denver, CO, is 3.5 hours away from Aspen
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
AIARE Companion Rescue Course
This one-day course in the impressive Aspen area will give you an upgraded sense of security while venturing into the backcountry. Learn how to use rescue equipment, how to react, and what to do if a member of your party is caught in an avalanche, and develop a plan for continuing practice. Your professional and friendly guide will set up a realistic scenario to practice avalanche rescue response techniques. Receive professional coaching on your rescue skills, as well as helpful feedback during the course from peers and instructors. This course is for anyone considering traveling in avalanche terrain, so join your guide and conquer new skills!
At the end of the Avalanche Rescue course the student should be able to:
- Describe what to do if they or a member of their party is caught in an avalanche.
- Identify and be able to use gear necessary for avalanche rescue.
- Set up a realistic scenario to practice an avalanche rescue response.
- Improve their response skills and times during and after the course with feedback from instructors and peers.
- Develop a plan for continuing practice.
Meet your guides
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide · 22 years of experience
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guides
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guides
I’ve been doing fun outdoor activities with the Aspen Ex team for 10 years. The new owners, Amos and Britt, are doing some new awesome things. My adventures with Aspen Ex include summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, sailing to and skiing fjords in Iceland, backcountry ski days in Aspen and Telluride, and snorkel skiing in Japan to name a few. I’ve also taken Avalanche 1 and 2 level classes with Aspen Ex. Definitely looking forward to more good times.
My fiance and I recently had our first outdoor climbing experience in Aspen (we climbed Independence Pass). Our guide, Mike, was absolutely incredible. We explained that we had experience climbing indoors, but had never climbed outdoors nor had we done lead roping — he taught us the latter, and made the former an absolute joy.
Mike found routes for us that were challenging but do-able, gave us pointers when we needed/asked for them (but let us figure out the puzzle on our own a lot of times, which I really appreciated), and even let us run over time to do one more climb. When we got stuck on a route, Mike would climb it and mark good holds with chalk. And, when I took a solid 20 minutes on one route, he didn’t rush me or make me feel like a poor climber at all.
Overall, a fantastic experience that was well worth the money. We’ll cherish the experience for long to come!
I booked a multi-pitch day and my first 14,000er with Aspen Expeditions. From the very first phone call with Dirk in the office, I knew this was a professional operation. He gave me step-by-step information on what to pack, and when my guide would contact me which left me very at ease.
I was partnered with a guide named Sammy. To say she was awesome would be an understatement. She was experienced, professional, friendly, and knowledgeable! Both days were an experience, an adventure, and a lesson all wrapped into one! My experiences with Sammy surpassed my expectations. Ascending Pyramid Peak is not for the faint of heart, but she broke it down into manageable sections for the climb.
I highly recommend Aspen Expeditions for your next mountain adventure!! And if you get the pleasure of having Sammy as your guide, get ready for an unforgettable experience!
Things to know
Covid measures in Aspen, 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 Aspen, Colorado, please refer to the Official Colorado 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 AIARE certified instructor
- Full-day in the field
- A rescue card acknowledging completion date at course end
- Use of avalanche beacon, shovel, probe & ski pack
- AIARE dues ($15)
- AIARE field book ($29.95)
- 3% USFS land use surcharge
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Trip insurance
- Transport to and from Aspen and the meeting point
- Single-ride lift tickets ($41)
- Meals and snacks
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.
Students must be able to travel in the snow and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. Skiers must be able to hike for several hours at a time while carrying a small pack. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear. There are no other prerequisites.
What equipment do I need to bring?
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:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- 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
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First-aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- 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
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from Aspen Expeditions
- Splitboards can be rented from Aspen Expeditions
Your guide will provide you with a daypack with a probe, shovel, and avalanche beacon if you don’t have your own avy gear. Ski rental locations are in Aspen and should be picked up the night before your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
- For this course, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private courses, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Ski touring in Aspen 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.
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.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Aspen, most people fly into Denver International Airport, 3.5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. You can also fly into Aspen Airport (ASE), which is a 15-minute drive away. You can hire a rental car, arrange a shuttle with your accommodation, or take one of the free city buses.
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 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.