Avalanche Education Private

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Avalanche Education Private

The Avalanche Education Private is the perfect course for someone wanting to get an introduction into managing the avalanche problem in a Beginner Backcountry Skiing setting. It is also great for someone wanting to brush up on their skills or knowledge. Or who is preparing for an upcoming AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Education course.

On an Avalanche Education Private, you will join your guide in experiencing all the backcountry has to offer. During the course you will learn the process to plan and map your route. Along with learn how to implement your plan as a team, and manage risk through proper terrain choices. Avalanche education privates are offered in one and two day segments. Most importantly all in person time being held in the Vail Backcountry, and the emphasis being on your party. It will only be your group with the guide.

Prior to heading into the field for your Avalanche Education Private. Your guide will work with you to design the course format and outcomes. We aim to provide high value to you and your group, through excellent backcountry experiences and revel in phat powder turns.

All ages 12 and up, fitness levels, and abilities are welcome on our Avalanche Education Private. For the course, Participants should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski, splitboard, or snowshoes. Which if you are looking to gain some experience with backcountry travel before taking an avalanche education course, check out our Beginner Backcountry Skiing trips.

All backcountry courses take place at altitude in mountainous terrain. We encourage students to come prepared for all mountain weather conditions that may be encountered.



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.) 

Are you ready to Enroll in an Avalanche Education Private? We look forward to being your guide to avalanche education and helping you towards achieving your goals. Register with the accompanying calendar, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page to request more info.

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!

Avalanche Education Private – Quick Info

Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in an Avalanche Education Private, or check out our Avalanche Rescue Course.


Available Monday-Thursday


Group size 1-5: $1,390 per day
Larger groups are welcome! Please call 970-949-9111 for pricing and details.


Apex Mountain School Buff
SANS meal Bar


Easy – Moderate


7-9 hours


Vail Valley, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass and/or surrounding areas


Interested in an AIARE avalanche education course? Our AIARE Level 1 and Rescue Course enrollments are now open.

*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
  • Water/wind proof jacket with hood, pants, and gloves
  • Pocket sized notebook
  • 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
  • Helmet (strongly encouraged- natural obstacles can be exposed or close to snow surface)
  • Small day pack
  • Water bottle and food (Avoid bringing camelback bladders, they have a tendency to freeze and explode in packs)


  • Loupe (at least 10x zoom)
  • Snow Saw (minimum 30cm)
  • Snow crystal card


  • Hand warmers
  • Hot liquid
  • Liner socks
  • Adjustable Poles
  • Extra gloves
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle insulator
  • Ground mat (insulation so you can sit on the snow)

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. 


Private One Day

Private Two Day

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.
Avalanche Education Private


Backcountry Avalanche Courses

Don’t get stuck waiting in crowded lift lines for skied out groomers this winter. When you could be getting ready for the best powder you’ve ever experienced. Learn how to safely make your first tracks in Colorado’s Backcountry Skiing environments.  Expand your knowledge through our formal avalanche education.

Our staff is dedicated to prepare you for the backcountry. On all our trips and courses the priority is assuring that our clients have the safest and most fulfilling experience possible. We are grateful to be able to share the beautiful mountains we enjoy with you. Before your course we encourage you to get to know our instructors, and we look forward to connecting with each of you individually.

Additional Resources

AIARE Courses?
The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE)  is a non-profit organization that offers the only internationally recognized avalanche education curriculum in the US. AIARE continues to research and develop their curriculum, standards and guidelines for instructors. All AIARE instructors must meet prerequisites and attend training sessions before they access the AIARE curriculum. Therefore, you can trust Apex’s AIARE instructors and courses to get you ready for the backcountry. At Apex Mountain School we offer a wide range of AIARE courses. Which Include the Avalanche Rescue course, AIARE Level 1, AIARE Level 2, and AIARE Private Courses.

What is a backcountry avalanche course like?

Avalanche Courses range from single to multi day courses and can cover a wide array of information.

  • AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a single day 8 hour course that focuses on how to respond to an avalanche accident and how to use avalanche rescue gear.
  • AIARE Level 1 is a 3 day avalanche course, where the first day is spent in a classroom setting. For discussion on avalanche characteristics, types and movements. We also cover the metamorphism of a mountain snowpack and how human behavior can affect our interaction with the backcountry. Then the following two days work on developing the previously mentioned topics firsthand, in the backcountry. Where we also begin to use avalanche terrain equipment.

How to prepare

Students should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski, splitboard, or snowshoe. All our Avalanche Education Private Courses take place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Where the weather can be harsh at times. As a result, we urge that students come prepared for unfavorable conditions.