Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in the Rockies
Combine study and pleasure on enchanting backcountry snow
Enjoy the Rockies to the fullest with the help of a pro guide
Learn how to keep yourself and others safe in the backcountry
People say that once you try the backcountry, there’s no settling for less. The thrill of exploring out-of-bounds terrain in search of perfect powder, the comforting blanket of untrodden snow enveloping the landscape—there’s magic to be found in the wilderness. But the beauty of the backcountry does not come without its perils, namely avalanches. To successfully negotiate this exciting but unpredictable territory, it’s important to know your surroundings and, if worse comes to worst, proper avalanche rescue techniques. This AIARE course held on the supreme slopes of Rocky Mountain National Park is designed to teach you just that. Learn how to stay safe, how to keep others from danger, and your trips to the backcountry will be all the more sweeter for it. Find out more about the importance of safety and managing backcountry risk from Rob Coppolillo, AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide.
Denver is 70 miles away
Beginner to intermediate
Book this adventure
AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
This eight-hour course will bring you up to speed on the latest developments in avalanche gear and rescue techniques. Join a professional instructor for in-the-field action and learn from realistic simulations that will test your decision-making and agility.
Before arriving for the field session, you will take a preparatory online curriculum. Then, after meeting with your group and instructor in person at Rocky Mountain National Park, you will start off by covering the basics such as preparing and packing for a trip to the backcountry. You will perform a departure check and head outside for field training, where you will familiarize yourself with avalanche rescue gear, break down emergency scenarios and appropriate techniques for each of those situations. Lastly, among other advanced topics, you will learn how to assess an avalanche situation and carry out an evacuation plan.
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.
Knowledgeable instructors and in a setting that inspires. I learned a lot during my course and look forward to putting my new knowledge to use exploring on snow in the Tetons and beyond.
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
- AIARE Avalanche Rescue Card upon completion of the course
- Knowledge of the areas/routes you’ll be visiting
- Rescue access, coordination, and response if necessary
- A full day of study in the field
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Food and snacks
- A $35 vehicle fee at the park entrance
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.
Rescue: 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, 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 pricing:
- These courses are not private. For the group courses, the usual guest to guide ratio is 6:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Avalanche rescue courses 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 you plan to take this course with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
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 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.