AIARE Level 1

Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in AIARE Level 1 with the Vail Valley’s #1 Recommended Apex Mountain School.

Interested in our 1-day avalanche rescue course?



  • Backcountry Courses
  • Click "Details" above for more course info
  • Nov 26-28, 2017   CLOSED
  • Dec 8-10, 2017   CLOSED
  • Dec 15-17, 2017   CLOSED
  • Dec 22-24, 2017   CLOSED
  • Dec 29-31, 2017   CLOSED
  • Jan 5-7, 2018   CLOSED
  • Jan 12-14, 2018   CLOSED
  • Jan 19-21, 2018   CLOSED
  • Jan 26-28, 2018   CLOSED
  • Feb 9-11 , 2018   CLOSED
  • Feb 16-18, 2018   CLOSED
  • Feb 23-25, 2018   CLOSED
  • Mar 9-11, 2018   CLOSED
  • Mar 23 - 25, 2018   1 availible
  • Mar 30-Apr 1, 2018   Full
  • Apr 6-8, 2018   Approx. 6 availible
  • available by private also - call for info and booking
  • Lift-Accessed Backcountry Courses:
  • Click here for AIARE Backcountry Level 1 details
  • Feb 2-4, 2018   CLOSED
  • Mar 2-4, 2018   Full
  • Heavily discounted tickets available, please alert the instructor on Friday in the classroom session.
  • Hut-Based Backcountry Courses:
  • Feb 6-8, 2018   CLOSED
  • Feb 26 - 28, 2018   CLOSED
  • Click here for AIARE Hut-Based Level 1 details


8-9.5 hours a day for 3 days


  • Meet at  1002 Miller Ranch Rd., Edwards for classroom day
  • Backcountry: Private Land, Continental Divide, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass
  • Lift Accessed Backcountry: via Vail Mountain
  • Hut-Based: near Fremont Pass at Private Hut


  • Per person for full course:
  • Backcountry: $450
  • Lift-Access: $450 (pass/ticket required: please alert the instructor at the start of Friday's classroom session)
  • Hut-Based: $595 (incl. hut fees)
  • Private Course:
  • $3570 for up to 6 people
  • Cost Includes:
  • Student Manual
  • AIARE Field Book
  • 1 classroom day, 2 full field days
  • AIARE Certificate of Completion


All Abilities

Experience Level

Beginner to Advanced

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the Colorado Rockies demands a thorough knowledge of avalanche risk. Appropriate terrain assessment and decision making skills are essential for the well-being of winter backcountry travelers. The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) provides world-class education through the only internationally recognized curriculum offered in the U.S. Be proactive about your well-being in the backcountry by expanding your knowledge and skill set through formal avalanche education. In our 3 day, 24 hour AIARE level 1 course, our curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of:

  • the characteristics and types of avalanches
  • movement of avalanches
  • classifications by size and danger scale
  • mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering

As well, we’ll discuss:

  • trip planning and preparation
  • risk management and decision-making
  • human influence in group dynamics, decision-making and accidents

Following classroom sessions, we’ll travel by backcountry ski, split board and snowshoe, and apply these learned foundations in a mountain snow environment, with a focus on:

  • Beacon and probe use
  • Identifying and evaluating avalanche terrain
  • Route-finding and travel techniques
  • Snow pit and snow layer analysis and tests
  • What questions to ask in risk evaluation
  • Identifying “red flags”
  • Avalanche rescue and beacon search techniques

Wherever you go for your avalanche training, accept no substitute for the standard in course curriculum, AIAIRE avalanche courses. Looking for more course dates?  Check out our Vail Mountain Lift Accessed AIARE Level 1 page for more courses. Prerequisites: Participants should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain (by ski or split board, snowshoe if no other option) in potentially inclement weather and mountainous conditions at altitude. Included in course: AIARE certified course instructor, course manual, avalanche field book, and certificate of completion. Advanced reservations are required. Some personal items provided by participant(s); see the gear list tab above. Register at the Book It tab above, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page.

What to bring:

  • Beacon/probe/shovel (rental available)
  • Clinometer (BCA slope meter, also available on compasses)
  • Complete ski, split board or snowshoe equipment, including boots, poles, etc
  • *No cotton – cotton does not wick moisture or insulate when wet.
  • Synthetic or wool long underwear bottom (thin)
  • Synthetic or wool long sleeve top (medium)
  • Synthetic or wool socks
  • Ground mat (insulation so you can sit on snow)
  • Water/wind proof jacket with hood, pants, and gloves
  • Notebook (for lecture day)
  • Any other items you would typically have in your pack on a backcountry trip
  • Warm gloves or mittens
  • Hat and neck gaiter or balaclava
  • Goggles or sunglasses
  • Small day pack
  • Water bottle and food
  • Headlamp and batteries

Also Recommended:

  • Loupe (at least 10x zoom)
  • Snow Saw (minimum 30cm)
  • Snow crystal card

You may also consider:

  • Hand warmers
  • Hot liquid
  • Liner socks
  • Adjustable Poles
  • Extra gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle insulator

Participant Forms: If you wish to complete your participant forms in advance, download and print out the pdf below. Complete both pages for each participant, and give to your guide at the beginning of your trip.

Participant Forms

Click the button below to view our terms, conditions and cancellation policy.