AIARE Level 1 Hut Based

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AIARE Level 1 Hut Based


Learn avalanche safety and complete your AIARE Level 1 training from the comfort of our backcountry huts. These hut trips combine warm and comfortable backcountry huts and access to exceptional backcountry skiing and snowboarding. 

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. 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. We also 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.



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?

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.) 



$6,370 includes hut fees and up to  6 people

$11,740 includes hut fees and up to 12 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, Fremont Pass and/or surrounding areas

 *Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*


See our inclusion policy for special group requests.


  • 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

Please contact us at or (970)949-9111 if you are interested in booking a hut based AIARE course.

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.