AIARE LEVEL 1 BACKCOUNTRY FLEX COURSE
Have you put off taking your Apex AIARE Level 1 course because you couldn’t get a Friday off from work? This Apex AIARE Level 1 FLEX course offers an alternative. Our beginner backcountry ski outing is also an excellent supplement for preparing for this course.
The new Apex Mountain School AIARE Level 1 Backcountry FLEX Course offers you the best in avalanche education with an accessible schedule. As a member of a tourism based local community, Apex is proud to do its part in promoting social distancing, in an effort to slow the spread on COVID-19. The Apex AIARE Level 1 FLEX still includes two days of in–field practical application but now with all classroom instruction taking place remotely.
Participants will meet with their instructor(s) virtually, via an online platform, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00pm prior to their weekend field days. During these 3-hour sessions students will have the opportunity to view interactive diagram explanations, work on small group activities, and ask questions. Participants are expected to complete a series of pre-course e-learning modules provided by AIARE (details provided after booking) and evening assignments during the course.
Interested in an Avalanche Rescue Course but worried about social distancing? The one-day Apex Avalanche Rescue Course is 100% Field Based with no classroom time.
Students should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or splitboard (or snowshoe, if no other option). The course takes place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Apex encourages students to come prepared for all mountain weather conditions. New to the backcountry and want to sharpen your skills before the course? We offer a Vail Backcountry Skiing private outing, where you’ll work with your guide on uphill and downhill travel techniques, transitions and navigating a backcountry environment.
Course registration is required. Private AIARE Level 1 courses with Apex are also available.
BOOKING / MORE INFO
Ready to start your avalanche education? Our guides are excited to work with you. Register on this page with the accompanying calendar. For more information, please visit our Contact Page
AIARE Level 1 Backcountry FLEX CURRICULUM
Throughout a 27 hour Apex AIARE Level 1 FLEX course, consisting of 2 virtual class sessions and 2 field days, the course will focus on the following natural elements:
- The characteristics and types of avalanches
- Movement of avalanches
- Classifications by size and danger scale
- Mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering
- Heuristics or Human Factors and group management
- Mapping, time management, route finding and navigation, as well as the latest standardized electronic tools and data/planning sites
- Using the AIARE field book
- Companion Rescue
- and more
- How our behavior can effect our interaction with the backcountry
- Trip planning and preparation
- Risk management and decision-making
- Human influence in:
- Group dynamics
The topics listed above will first be discussed during the virtual evening class sessions then applied in person on the weekend field days.
The field days topics will include:
- Trip planning and prep
- Beacon, shovel and probe use
- Avalanche rescue, beacon search and strategic shoveling
- Identifying and evaluating avalanche terrain
- Route-finding, terrain management and travel techniques
- Group management
- Snow pit and snow layer analysis and tests
- Questions to ask in risk evaluation
- Identifying “red flags”
- and more
AIARE Level 1 Backcountry FLEX – Quick Info
Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate avalanche terrain and be an informed backcountry traveler with the new Apex FLEXible schedule.
Online classes Tuesday & Thursday evenings, 6pm-9pm
In–field practical Saturday & Sunday, 8am-5pm
- 10,12 & 14-15
- 17,19 & 21-22
- 8, 10 & 12-13
- 5, 7 & 9-10
- 9, 11 & 13-14
- 9, 11 & 13-14
- 6, 8 & 10-11
Course – $565
- Student Manual
- AIARE Field Book
- Apex Mountain School Buff
- SANS meal Bar
- 2 Remote Session Class Days, Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm-9pm
- 2 Full Field Days, 8am-430pm
- AIARE Certificate of Completion
Easy – Moderate
~4-hour online e-learning module
Two, 3-hour, remote evening sessions
Two, 8.5-hour, field days
Total Time ~ 27 hours*
*Total Course Time includes pre-course e-learning module
Vail Valley, Vail Pass or Fremont Pass
*Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*
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.
- Long underwear bottom (thin) – synthetic or wool
- Long sleeve top (medium) – synthetic or wool
- Socks – synthetic or wool
- Ground mat (insulation so you can sit on snow)
- Water/wind proof jacket with hood, pants, and gloves
- Notebook (for lecture day)
- Warm gloves or mittens
- Hat and neck gaiter or balaclava
- Goggles or sunglasses
- Small day pack
- Water bottle and food
- Headlamp and batteries
- Any other items you would typically have in your pack on a backcountry trip
- 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
- Water bottle insulator
When Federally, Statewide, or Locally mandated and/or recommended, or when deemed appropriate by Apex staff, all students will be required to wear a COVID-apprioprate face covering at all times.
BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE COURSE
Don’t get stuck waiting in crowded lift lines for skied out groomers this winter. Get ready for the best powder you’ve ever experienced. Learn how to safely make your first tracks in backcountry skiing environments. Expand your knowledge through our formal avalanche education.
Our staff is dedicated to prepare you for the backcountry. Our priority is assuring that our clients have the safest and most fulfilling experience possible. We are grateful to be able to share the beautiful mountains we enjoy with you. We encourage you to get to know our instructors, and we look forward to connecting with each of you individually.
WHAT IS AIARE?
The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is a non-profit organization that offers the only internationally recognized curriculum in the US. AIARE continues to research and develop their curriculum, standards and guidelines for instructors. All AIARE instructors must meet prerequisites and attend training sessions before they access the AIARE curriculum. Therefore, you can trust Apex’s AIARE instructors to get you ready for the backcountry.
WHAT IS A BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE COURSE LIKE?
The following two days we develop the previously mentioned topics firsthand, in the backcountry. We will also begin to use avalanche terrain equipment.
HOW TO PREPARE
Students should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or splitboard (or snowshoe, if no other option). The Backcountry Avalanche Course take place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Weather can be harsh at times. As a result, we urge that students come prepared for unfavorable conditions.