For total immersion in the backcountry, choose this hut-based AIARE 1 program. You will not only have a chance to learn about safety in avalanche terrain while sipping tea in front of crackling fire, but you also get meals, as well as instruction on how to organize a backcountry hut trip. Needless to say, with this option the off-piste areas utilized during the field days are within arm’s reach!
The learning outcomes of the AIARE 1 in Summit County are divided into four categories. The first one is related to equipment and includes learning how to efficiently use your beacon, shove, and probe, how to do a successful pre-trip equipment check and learning about survival gear. The following category is about weather and involves understanding a mountain snowpack, reading the avalanche forecast and classifications of avalanches and learning characteristics of different types of avalanches. Subsequently, you will get familiar with trip preparation: route selection, rescue and emergency planning, as well as group management. The last section is about hazards/rescue and has to do with how to recognize hazardous conditions, managing risk and decision making, and companion risk management.
One month before the trip, you will receive various e-materials from your guide that will serve as a preparation for the upcoming AIARE 1 course. You can study the materials at your own pace and get a head start by learning useful information before the course itself.
The first day of the course is reserved for virtual/regular classroom education (depending on the date chosen). This will serve as a theoretical foundation for field education in the two following days. If you choose the hut-based course, the classroom education will take place in the hut, where you will arrive on Day 1. For the other two programs, if you opt for the dates with regular classroom option, class will be held at your guides basecamp in Silverthorne, CO. Virtual classes will be held online via video call services. You can expect 8 hours of classes (usually from 8 am to 4 pm) which will consist of regular classroom presentations and trip planning lessons, as well as companion rescue if you take the hut-based course.
For the hut-based trip, Day 2 will resume with some more classroom education, followed by a field session. If you join the other programs, you will spend the entire day in the backcountry.
Day 2 is all about companion rescue (participants of the hut-based program cover it on Day 1) and learning how to make relevant observations in the field. Typically, field education on Day 2 starts at 7.30 am and ends at 3.30 pm.
Day 3 is arguably the most exciting one as it involves skill application in the field! The day will mostly consist of a student-led tour. Celebrate your achievements with fellow skiers/splitboarders and return to the guide’s basecamp.
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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Summit County, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.
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 day of regular/virtual classroom education and 2 days in the field
- E-Learning materials and Student Manual for AIARE Level 1 (sent one month prior to course)
- Student manual and weather-proof AIARE field book
- Use of beacon, shovel and probe (if needed)
- Accommodation in the hut and meals (only for the Hut-Based Course)
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented directly from your guide)
- Accommodation (except for the Hut-Based Course)
- Food and snacks (except for the Hut-Based Course)
- Transportation to and from the designated meeting place
- Guide gratuities—optional
- Lift tickets (for the Lift-Accessed AIARE 1 Course)
- Travel Insurance
In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a good 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. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain while carrying touring gear. The courses can be taken on alpine touring skis or splitboards: all participants should be familiar with their touring gear and have experience on their setup prior to taking this course.
If you have no prior experience of backcountry skiing, we suggest you check out this beginner-friendly backcountry tour in the Summit County.
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:
- Helmet — optional
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and brimmed hat/visor
- Light gloves for uphill travel
- 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
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (a 40L backpack)
- Pillow case, sleeping bag, and head lamp (only for the Hut-Based Course)
- Camera — optional
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 directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their Silverthorne, CO Basecamp (no additional fee)
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their Silverthorne, CO Basecamp
- Splitboards can be rented directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at their our Silverthorne, CO Basecamp
Ski rental locations are in Silverthorne, CO and equipment 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. You can rent your gear package upon booking at a discounted rate.
If you choose the hut-based course, you will either stay in Carner’s Cabin near Fremont Pass or Francie’s Cabin south of Breckenridge.
Carner’s Cabin is a completely off-grid hut nestled on the Continental Divide at an elevation of 11,700 ft. Surrounded by San Isabel National Forest for acres on end, there’s no other structure in sight, providing you with a very remote feeling. Thanks to being deep in the wilderness, wildlife sightings are very common. Regarding the facilities, there’s no electricity or running water (so make sure to bring your own bottled water or melt snow on the wood burning stove), and there are indoor composting toilet facilities. Propane gas cook stove, kitchen utensils and oil lamps are provided. The cabin can sleep 8 students—make sure to bring your own booties, sleeping bag, and pillowcase.
Built in 1994, Francie’s Cabin is the most popular hut in Colorado. Situated near 11,300 ft in the popular Crystal Lakes drainage of the Ten-Mile Range, the cabin books up very quickly. It is equipped with firewood, propane cook tops, cooking and eating utensils, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. Snowmelt is used for a water supply as with most winter huts. Capacity at Francie’s Cabin is 18 students.
Group sizes and pricing:
- For this group course, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1.
- Cost is per person and doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
AIARE 1 courses in Summit County, CO 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 Summit County, most people fly into Denver International Airport just under 2 hours away from Summit County. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will usually meet your guide at your guiding service’s basecamp in Silverthorne, CO, but you will receive more details in the weeks prior to the course dates that will include the exact meeting time and location, depending on the chosen program/whether you chose the dates with virtual/regular classroom education. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group during field session days.