AIARE Level 1 Zoom Course

AIARE Level 1
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If you have put off taking your Apex AIARE Level 1 course because you couldn’t or don’t want to take a Friday off from work, we have the solution. This Zoom course offers an alternative!

With this Zoom course you can learn the classroom material from the comfort of your home during two evening classes. Then join us in person for the backcountry field days offered in our typical AIARE Level 1 Backcountry Course.

We offer one Zoom course each month. Following this zoom course you will have 4 weeks to join us in the field to complete your Level 1 training and receive your AIARE Level 1 certificate.


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 Zoom – Quick Info

Learn from home with the new Apex Zoom schedule. 

This course is available to all ages 12 and up. (Ages 12-14 requires parents to attend also. All minor registrations must contact the office in advance of booking for prescreening approval.) 

2023-24 DATES

  • November 14 and 16
  • December 12 and 14
  • January 9 and 11
  • February 13 and 15
  • March 12 and 14

Online classes take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 9pm

Field days take place Saturday & Sunday approximately 8am-5pm. 


Course – $69 (Zoom course) $645 (Field Days)


  • Student Manual 
  • AIARE Field Book 
  • Apex Mountain School Buff 
  • SANS meal Bar 
  • Remote Session Class Days, Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm-9pm 
  • 2 Full Field Days, 8am-5pm 
  • AIARE Certificate of Completion 


Easy – Moderate


  • ~4-hour online e-learning module 
  • Two, 3-hour, remote evening sessions 
  • Two, 9-hour, field days 
  • Total Time ~ 27 hours* 

*Total Course Time includes pre-course e-learning module  


Vail Valley, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass and/or surrounding areas


See our inclusion policy for special group requests.


*Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*

Virtual Learning

Participants will meet with their instructor(s) virtually, through an online platform. Class takes place Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. During these 3-hour sessions, students will have the opportunity to view interactive diagram explanations, work on small group activities, and then ask questions. Participants are expected to complete a series of pre-course e-learning modules provided by AIARE (details provided after booking) prior to attendance of your zoom classroom sessions. Additional out of class assignments may be given. 


Students should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or splitboard (or snowshoe, if no other option). The field dates take place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Apex encourages students to come prepared for all mountain weather conditions. 


Are you new to the backcountry and want to sharpen your skills before the course? We offer Vail Backcountry Skiing private outings, where you’ll work with your guide on uphill and downhill travel techniques, transitions and navigating in a backcountry environment. We also offer Avalanche Prep Trips where you can work with an instructor to increase your skills in identifying avalanche terrain, route management, navigation and other skills.


  • 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 have in your pack on a normal backcountry trip


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


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

When federally, statewide, or locally mandated/recommended, or when deemed appropriate by Apex staff, all students will be required to wear a COVID-appropriate face covering at all times.

AIARE Level 1 Zoom Curriculum



The Apex AIARE Level 1 Zoom course consists of 2 virtual class sessions and 2 field days. During the course we will focus on the following 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



We will learn:

  • How our behavior can effect our interaction with the backcountry
  • Trip planning and preparation
  • Risk management and decision-making
  • Human influence in: 
    • Group dynamics 
    • Decision-making 
    • Accidents  

 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
Don't see a date you are looking for? Be sure to check out our traditional AIARE Level 1 Backcountry Course for additional course dates, or request a Private Course date.
Andrew Kirchhoff
Andrew Kirchhoff
July 1, 2022.
My teen sons and I had an amazing time rappelling with Bob in Vail! Apex provided everything we needed and accommodated our last minute booking. Thank you Apex!!
June 29, 2022.
Myself and my family had a awesome time repelling. Thanks to Bob we had fun while staying safe. I would recommend for anyone seeking a thrilling experience.
Colin Kirchhoff
Colin Kirchhoff
June 29, 2022.
Bob was a fantastic guide! Despite never repelling before, Bob never failed to make us feel safe and confident enough to have fun. 10/10 experience. Thank you so much!
Beth Ann Rosica
Beth Ann Rosica
June 28, 2022.
We had an amazing day climbing with Bob! We had 4 kids between 13 and 15, and Bob coached all of them to the top! He was patient and encouraging and kept everyone safe! I highly recommend Apex for a climbing experience! The kids are hooked on climbing and loved the adventure!
Jack Saussy
Jack Saussy
June 27, 2022.
My family had a great day climbing with Bob. He was very knowledgeable about the routes and equipment and turned our half day of climbing into a lesson. I plan to get my own shoes and join a gym at home because of this great experience, I highly recommend Apex Mountain School!
Jamie Schmid
Jamie Schmid
February 7, 2022.
We had such a blast ice climbing with our guide Jesse! He was so helpful and motivating and never made us feel like we were terrible at climbing even though it was our first time haha and he was so patient with all my picture taking and getting great shots! Would 1,000% recommend!
Joe Mahoney
Joe Mahoney
January 18, 2022.
Took my AIARE 1 through APEX. It was hard to decide with so many options out there. Look no further, APEX is exactly what you're looking for. I walked away with the exact knowledge I was hoping to get, and more. Josh V was our instructor and is extremely knowledgeable, had great answers to all of our questions and was just great to hang out with in the backcountry. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Shannon M.
Shannon M.
December 6, 2021.
Recently took the Level 1 AIARE Course with Apex and had a great experience. All of the instructors were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about snow safety and answered all questions in great detail to ensure the students learned as much as possible in the 3 day course. It was a very hands on experience and we were even able to do lots of field work despite the low snow conditions right now. Will definitely come back for another course, and looking forward to more backcountry travel with all the new info learned!
kurt albertson
kurt albertson
November 24, 2021.
Apex Mountain School is a wonderful outdoor educational and guide service! Recently took the level one AIARE and Avalanche Rescue course through Apex. Our instructors Andy and Mike were highly professional, knowledgeable and very engaging instructors that were very passionate about snow safety and teaching others about best practices to enjoy their experiences safely in the backcountry. Would highly recommend anyone regardless of experience to take a course with Apex. Looking forward to continuing my outdoor experiences with Apex in the future via additional educational courses as well as the opportunity for private guided trips. Excellent people and a great experience!!!
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
November 23, 2021.
I took the AIARE 1 course with Apex Mountain school and it was truly an amazing experience. Andy was a outstanding instructor, he fostered a culture in the group that encouraged participation, teamwork, learning and fun! The knowledge and tools learned in the course were second to none. We were fortunate to have a small group of 5, and this allowed for a lot of questions, learn by doing, and overall really fun time. I cannot recommend Apex Mountain School enough.