AIARE Level 1 Hut Based

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Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in AIARE Level 1 Hut Based with the Vail Valley’s #1 Recommended Apex Mountain School. Interested in our 1-day avalanche rescue course?
By private booking only, call for hut availability.


Course: $4780 (includes hut fees and up to  6 people).


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


Easy – Moderate


Three 8 hour days


Field Location – Vail Valley, Vail Pass or Fremont Pass

 *Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*



This winter, don’t get stuck waiting in crowded lift lines for over skied 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 US. Therefore, you can trust Apex’s AIARE guides to prepare you for the backcountry.


Our hut location is near Leadville, CO in a rustic setting. You will stay with others in a comfortable cabin. It is outfitted with the commodities listed below.

  • Oil lamps (provided)
  • Kitchen essentials (propane stove and oven, as well as a coldbox)
  • Woodburning stove (for heat and to melt snow for water)
  • Composting toilet

Food is not provided. We recommend foods which are dense in calories and low in sodium. Above all your meals should be easy to travel with and prepare. Some of the items that have been popular are listed below, but please keep in mind that this is simply a list to use as a resource. It is not meant to be comprehensive or a reference for necessities.


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal, nuts, seeds, dried fruits
  • Snacks: Dried fruit, cheese sticks, crackers, trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars
  • Lunch: Sandwiches, peanut butter, honey, tortillas, cheese sticks
  • Dinner: Quick rice meals using hot water, pasta, dehydrated meals (be aware of sodium if it’s a concern), tortillas with cheese, stovetop pizzas
  • Also: Tea, coffee (pour-over or instant), dried milk for cream


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, possibly in harsh weather. As a result, we urge that students come prepared for unfavorable conditions. Suggestions for 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.


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.



  • 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


  • Hand warmers
  • Hot liquid
  • Liner socks
  • Adjustable Poles
  • Extra gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • 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. 



In our 3 day, 24 hour AIARE level 1 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


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


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


Highly recommend these guys for AIAIRE 1! The course was super well-organized, ran on a timely basis, and most importantly was really fun. All of the guides were clearly knowledgeable and experienced. Despite the lack of fresh pow – we still had a blast learning some of the basics in snow science and getting a chance to apply a new skill set. Totally worth the $$ to gain some foundational backcountry knowledge upon which to build. Would definitely choose to do this course over again with Apex.

Jenna P