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With countless off-piste options and majestic wintry vistas each step of the way, Estes Park and the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park beckon backcountry enthusiasts year after year. While the area’s amazing terrain and snow are perfect for carving big turns,  they are also ideal for learning about the one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked when venturing out of bounds—avalanche threats. If you’re planning on visiting off-piste areas, freshening up on your avalanche safety skills becomes of paramount importance. The Estes Park area’s conditions make for a perfect snowy classroom in which working on these skills will jog your memory and make you remember all you need to know about group management techniques, snowpack, terrain, and hazard evaluation from the previous AIARE Level 1 course. You never know when these techniques could come in handy, and with an experienced guide leading you throughout the process, you are guaranteed to walk away a more self-reliant mountain adventurer! 

  • Take in the expansive views of snowy landscapes all around you

  • Prepare for upcoming off-piste trips by revising the necessary skills

  • Refresh your memory and broaden your existing avalanche safety knowledge on fantastic terrain


Refresh your memory and build upon your already existing avalanche safety skills and knowledge on this 8-hour Avalanche Level 1 Refresher Course in the breathtaking Estes Park! Freshen up on various skills such as group management techniques, discuss snowpack, terrain, hazard evaluation, and travel techniques in the backcountry with your experienced guide, and become a much more confident out-of-bounds traveler!

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Meet your guide

Colorado Mountain School
Colorado Mountain School
Founded in Estes Park in 1981, the Colorado Mountain School has built a solid and respected reputation in the mountain guiding community. Their team is highly trained and internationally certified — you can count on safety, fun, and adventure.
5.00 (2 reviews)
Mason Jones (source: Facebook)

Over the weekend my son and I took an Avy Refresher course with Jason Antin. There was so much we “forgot we knew” and that is what made the Refresher course so valuable to us. There were also many new learnings as well. We got lucky that the group we were with are awesome people and Jason is a great guide so it was a good day.

Tom Soltys (source: Facebook)

Always have an amazing learning experience and tons of fun with guides from CMS. Highly recommend them!!

Things to know

  • 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 Estes Park, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 Travel Guidelines and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    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 AIARE instructor with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day in the field

    What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Transportation
    • Food
    • Accommodation
    • Clothing, backpack, and non-technical personal items
    • Park entrance fees
  • In order to get the most of this guided Avalanche Level 1 Refresher Course in Estes Park, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for about 6-8 hours. 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. Skiers must be able to hike for several hours at a time while carrying a small pack. 

    AIARE Level 1 Course or equivalent Level 1 training is required. Students must be able to travel in the snow on either an AT/Tele setup or splitboard and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. 

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

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, 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:

    • Ski helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Beanie or fleece hat
    • Sun hat
    • Face mask
    • Neck gaiter
    • Synthetic lightweight gloves
    • Midweight softshell glove
    • Heavyweight waterproof gloves
    • Wind and waterproof softshell and fleece jacket with hood 
    • Synthetic or down puffy jacket
    • Waterproof shell jacket
    • Lightweight and midweight synthetic or merino wool base layer tops and bottoms
    • Sports bra
    • Hardshell pants
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • Toe warmers and hand heaters 
    • 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 2L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage 
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First-aid kit — optional
    • Personal toilet kit — optional
    • Sunscreen
    • Headlamp with fresh batteries
    • Backpack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 20-40L backpack)
    • Lip balm (SPF 15 or higher)
    • Food you can eat on the go
    • Hot drinks — optional
    • Slope meter (inclinometer) — optional
    • Snow saw — optional
    • Laptop — optional
    • Compass — optional
    • Camera — optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent: 

    Ski rental locations are in Boulder, CO, 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 pricing:

    • For this course, the max. client to guide ratio is 6:1. 
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
    • If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.

    AIARE Level 1 refresher courses in Estes 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.
    • 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 Estes Park, most people fly into Denver International Airport 1.5 hours from Estes Park. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service and a taxi.

    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. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,

Learning outcomes

This guided Avalanche Level 1 Refresher Course in Estes Park will cover:

  • Backcountry Checklist review
  • Interpreting avalanche forecasts and weather bulletins
  • Route planning
  • Rescue scenarios and transceiver practice
  • Review of stability tests
  • Recognizing avalanche terrain, route selection & travel techniques
  • Communication and group management in the backcountry
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