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Crested Butte | Colorado

AIARE Level 1 in Crested Butte

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Skill level


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Group size

1 – 12 people

The AIARE Level 1 course is a must for any winter backcountry endeavors. In our three-day (24 hour) course, participants will learn how to recognize hazards and potential dangers while managing and minimizing risk in avalanche terrain.

Going into the backcountry is easy and fun. Making correct and safe decisions aren’t always straightforward when you’re in the field. With every ski tour and expedition, there is a lot to consider and take into account when on the slopes. Because of this, avalanche awareness is just as important as avalanche prevention.

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is the American standard that drives and informs your curriculum.  All of our guides are certified and will use their extensive experience when guiding each participant.

Here’s the what we’ll cover in the classroom and outside

You’ll learn how to prepare and plan for a backcountry tour. We’ll also study and analyze avalanche forecasts. We cover basic rescue techniques and go over the finer points of group management. Look forward to learning about:

  • What to look for and identify in avalanche terrain & avalanche types
  • Hazardous conditions and how to recognize them
  • The basics of snowpack understanding
  • Route selection and terrain features
  • Snowpack tests and interpretation
  • Educated decision making
Prerequisites for your avalanche course

All participants should have some winter travel experience (ski, snowboard, snowshoe, snowmobile, etc). Backcountry experience is not necessary but do take some time to familiarize yourself with your backcountry travel equipment.

In the time leading up to the course, we highly recommend reading Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard by Fredston and Fesler.

After completing this course be sure to take AIARE Avalanche Rescue and AIARE Level 2 to hone your averse terrain skills and be up to date on best practices.

Things you need to know

What is included?

  • AIARE Level 1 Course Manual
  • AIARE Field Book
  • AIARE Level 1 certificate upon successful completion of course

What's not included?

  • Lodging, food, avalanche safety gear, backcountry touring gear.
  • Avalanche safety gear and backcountry touring set-ups and be rented for an additional fee.

What to bring?

A detailed equipment list will be provided upon registration.

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