AIARE LEVEL 1 BACKCOUNTRY COURSE
Be prepared when traveling in the backcountry with an AIARE Level 1 Backcountry course. Learn how to make informed decisions in order to mitigate risk in adverse conditions. An AIARE Level 1 Backcountry course with Apex Mountain School promises current information, modern practices, and qualified instructors.
The AIARE Level 1 Backcountry course is divided into 3 Days:
- Day 1 is spent in the classroom. You will have the opportunity to view interactive diagrams, work on small group activities and ask questions before your weekend field days.
- Day 2 allows instructors to guide students through a backcountry tour and companion rescue drills.
- Day 3 is the opportunity for students to show what they have learned. Instructors will observe the students’ decision making during a student-led tour through the backcountry.
Participants are expected to complete a series of pre-course e-learning modules and evening assignments during the course. These AIARE modules are fundamental to success in the course.
The Apex Avy Prep course offers an opportunity to get comfortable in the backcountry and ensure you are ready for the Level 1 Field days. The Apex AIARE Level 1 Zoom course offers an opportunity to complete your Level 1 without taking Friday off from work. An Avalanche Rescue Course will prepare for those “what if” scenarios.
We look forward to being your guide to avalanche education. Register with the accompanying calendar, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page to request more info.
BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE COURSE
AIARE Level 1 – 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?
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.)
- November 10-12
- November 17-19
- November 24-26
- December 1-3
- December 8-10
- December 15-17
- December 22-24
- December 29-31
- January 5-7
- January 12-14
- January 19-21
- January 26-28
- February 2-4
- February 9-11
- February 16-18
- February 23-25
- March 1-3
- March 8-10
- March 15-17
- March 22-24
- March 29-31
- April 5-7
- April 12-14
- April 19-21
- April 26-28
**minimum of 3 students to run the course**
**Availability updated weekly. For present availability please see the booking calendar to the right of the page.**
Course – $645
AIARE Field Book
Apex Mountain School SWAG (Stuff We All Get)
1 Classroom Day
2 Full Field Days
AIARE Certificate of Completion
Easy – Moderate
Three 8-hour days
*Start and end times are approximate
Classroom Location – Eagle-Vail, CO (see How to Find Us)
Field Location – Vail Valley, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass and/or surrounding areas
*Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*
See our inclusion policy for special group requests.
Completion of e-learning modules is required by AIARE prior to the start of all courses. AIARE Level 1 modules often take about 4 hours.
Participants should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or split board (snowshoes are acceptable if no other option). All AIARE Level 1 Backcountry courses take place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Apex encourages students to come prepared for all mountain weather conditions.
Are you new to the backcountry or looking to hone your ski or split board skills prior to an AIARE course? Beginner Backcountry Ski and Split boarding outings with Apex are an excellent way to prepare! During a Vail Backcountry Skiing private outing, your Apex Mountain School guide will work with you on both up and downhill travel techniques and transitions as well as navigating in a backcountry environment.
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
- 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-appropriate face covering at all times.
AIARE Level 1 Backcountry CURRICULUM
Throughout a 27 hour Apex AIARE Level 1 Backcountry course, consisting of 1 classroom day 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
- 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 in the classroom then applied in person on the weekend field days.
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”