AIARE Level 1 Vail Mountain

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Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in an AIARE Level 1 Vail Mountain course with the Vail Valley’s #1 Recommended Apex Mountain School. Interested in our 1-day avalanche rescue course?

2018-19 DATES

  • Feb 22-24
  • Mar 8-10
  • Mar 22-24

Heavily discounted tickets available, please alert the instructor on Friday’s classroom session.


Course: $510
(pass/ticket required: Please alert the instructor at the start of Friday’s classroom session.)
Includes: Student Manual AIARE Field Book 1 classroom day, 2 full field days AIARE Certificate of Completion




Three 8 hour days


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


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.


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.


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


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
Don't see a date you are looking for? Be sure to check out our AIARE Level 1 Backcountry Courses for additonal course dates, or request a Private Course date.
Took my AIARE Level one with these guys at the end of December and it was a great experience. Our instructors were Zack and Mike. They tag-teamed for the classroom day then I had Zack for the field work. Both were knowledgeable in the classroom and Zack was excellent in the field, and brought a lot of real-world experience to the material. I highly recommend Apex for this class.

Arthur W