Backcountry Avalanche Course

DetailsBook Now

BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE COURSE- QUICK INFO

Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in a Backcountry Avalanche Course. Interested in our 1-day avalanche rescue course?

2018-19 DATES

  • November
    • 23-25 FULL – Call for Waiting List
    • Nov 30-Dec 2
  • December
    • 7-9
    • 14-16
    • 21-23
    • 29-31
  • January
    • 4-6
    • 11-13
    • 19-21
    • 25-27
  • February
    • 8-10
    • 15-17
  • March
    • 1-3
    • 15-17
    • 29-31
  • April
    • 5-7
    • 12-14

COST

Course – $510

Includes:

  • Student Manual
  • AIARE Field Book
  • Ortovox Gift Pack
  • Kind Bar
  • 1 Classroom Day
  • 2 Full Field Days
  • AIARE Certificate of Completion

DIFFICULTY

Easy – Moderate

DURATION

Three 8 hour days

LOCATION

Classroom Location – Edwards, CO
Field Location – Vail Valley, Vail Pass or Fremont Pass

DESCRIPTION

BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE COURSE

This winter, don’t get stuck waiting in crowded lift lines for skied out groomers. Learn how to safely make your first tracks in backcountry skiing environments.  Expand your knowledge through formal avalanche education. The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) offers the only internationally recognized curriculum in the U.S. Therefore, you can trust Apex’s AIARE instructors to get you ready for the backcountry.

PREREQUISITES

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. At times, weather can be harsh. As a result, we urge that students come prepared for unfavorable conditions. Suggestions for proper attire are located in the “to bring” tab.

Registration for the course is required.  This course is also available at Vail Mountain where we have lift access to the field location. Furthermore, we offer Private Courses in which you will be taught in a personal setting with your own instructor.

BOOKING / MORE INFO

Are you ready to sign up? We look forward to working with you. So register with the accompanying calendar, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page to request more info.

 

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)
  • 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

CURRICULUM

FUNDAMENTALS

In our 3 day, 24 hour Backcountry Avalanche Course, we focus on the natural elements listed below.

  • The characteristics and types of avalanches
  • Movement of avalanches
  • Classifications by size and danger scale
  • Mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering

ALSO DISCUSSED

We will also cover how our behavior can affect our interaction with the backcountry.

  • Trip planning and preparation
  • Risk management and decision-making
  • Human influence in:
    • Group dynamics
    • Decision-making
    • Accidents

APPLYING SKILLS

The previously mentioned topics are first discussed in our classroom session. This is held at Red Canyon High School in Edwards, Colorado. Afterwards we begin to travel by backcountry ski/splitboard/snowshoe on the second and third day. There, we finally apply the foundations we have learned in mountain snow environment. Our main focus will be on the following items.

  • 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

Don't see a date you are looking for? Be sure to check out our AIARE Level 1 Vail Mountain for additional course dates, or request a Private Course date.

Scott and Jill were an awesome team loaded with knowledge. They new how to convey their knowledge in a great class room session and field days. They made it an easy environment to learn and had detailed answers and explanations to all questions. I would highly recommend Scott for any course you can get with him, he is the man.

Sschlegel9076
★★★★★
TripAdvisor.com

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 organizations 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 first day of the 3 day avalanche school will be spent in a classroom setting. There, we discuss avalanche characteristics, types and movements. We also cover the metamorphism of a mountain snowpack and how human behavior can affect our interaction with the backcountry.

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.