AIARE Private Courses

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Enjoy a more personalized avalanche education experience with our AIARE Private Courses. One on one attention is a surefire way to feel comfortable and confident skiing in backcountry terrain. The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) provides world-class education through the only internationally recognized curriculum offered in the U.S.

Have you put off taking your Apex AIARE Level 1 course because you are worried about social distancing or could not get a Friday off from work? This Apex FLEX course offers an alternative.  


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.) 

Participants 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 in potentially inclement weather. Registration is required. Some personal items are provided by the participant; see the “to bring” tab.

  • For the Level 1 Course, see our gear and equipment list on the bottom of our AIARE Level 1 page.
  • Or, for the Level 2 Course, see the bottom of our AIARE Level 2 page for a gear and equipment list.

Advanced reservations are required. Register below on the accompanying calendar or call (970) 949-9111.

If you have put off taking your Apex AIARE Level 1 course because you couldn’t or don’t want to take a Friday off from work, we have the solution. This Zoom course offers an alternative!


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?

2020-21 DATES

    • Courses Available Upon Request


  • Student Manual
  • AIARE Field Book
  • Apex Mountain School Buff
  • SANS meal Bar
  • 1 Classroom Day
  • 2 Full Field Days
  • AIARE Certificate of Completion


Easy – Moderate


Three 8 hour days


Classroom Location – Eagle-Vail, CO
Field Location – Vail Valley, Vail Pass or Fremont Pass

Interested in an online AIARE Level 1 course that will better align with your work schedule and help promote social distancing? This Apex FLEX course offers an alternative.  The Apex FLEX course offers a remote course with evening sessions. Click HERE to learn more.

*Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*


See our inclusion policy for special group requests. 


In our 3 day, 24 hour AIARE level 1 private course, our curriculum focuses on the following:

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


    • Trip planning and preparation
    • Risk management and decision-making
    • Human influence in:
      • group dynamics
      • decision-making
      • accidents


Following classroom sessions, we will travel by backcountry ski, splitboard or snowshoe, and apply these new foundations in a mountain snow environment. We will focus on:

    • 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

Level 1 Courses

Level 2 Courses

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.