AIARE Level 1 and Rescue Combo

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Travel safely through avalanche terrain and be prepared for an unexpected turn of events with this AIARE Avalanche Level 1 and Rescue Combo course. Learn the AIARE Level 1 skills necessary to safely progress through avalanche terrain and mitigate risk. No matter how well informed and prepared we are in the backcountry, sometimes a rescue is required – this course covers the rescue skills necessary in case of the need for companion rescue.

Other Courses

The Apex Avy Prep course offers an opportunity to get comfortable in the backcountry to make sure you are ready for the Level 1 Field days. The Apex AIARE Level 1 Zoom course offers an opportunity to complete your Level 1 without taking Friday off from work. An Avalanche Rescue Course will prepare for for an unexpected turn of events. 


We look forward to being your guide to avalanche education. Register with the accompanying calendar, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page to request more info. 



This is best option to prepare for backcountry terrain with both AIARE Level 1 and Rescue curriculums in one course!

2023-24 DATES

  • Nov 16-19          (Thur-Sun)
  • Nov 24-27          (Fri-Mon)
  • Nov 30-Dec 3    (Thur-Sun)
  • Dec 7-10             (Thur-Sun)
  • Dec 14-17           (Thur-Sun)
  • Dec 21-24          (Thur-Sun)
  • Dec 28-31          (Thur-Sun)
  • Jan 4-7               (Thur-Sun)
  • Jan 12-15            (Fri-Mon)
  • Jan 19-22           (Fri-Mon)
  • Jan 25-28          (Thur-Sun)
  • Feb 2-5               (Fri-Mon)
  • Feb 9-12             (Fri-Mon)
  • Feb 16-19            (Fri-Mon)
  • Feb 22-25           (Thur-Sun)
  • Feb 29-Mar 3     (Thur-Sun)
  • Mar 8-11             (Fri-Mon)
  • Mar 14-17           (Thur-Sun)
  • Mar 22-25          (Fri-Mon)
  • Mar 28-31          (Thur-Sun)
  • Apr 5-8               (Fri-Mon)
  • Apr 11-14           (Thur-Sun)
  • Apr 19-22           (Fri-Mon)
  • Apr 25-28           (Thur-Sun)

**Minimum of 3 students required to run a course**

**Availability is updated on a weekly basis and may not accurately reflect the current status. Please see the calendar above for the most current availability.




  • Student Manual
  • AIARE Field Book
  • Apex Mountain School SWAG (Stuff We All Get)
  • 1 Classroom Day
  • 3 Field Days
  • AIARE Certificates of Completion for Level 1 and Rescue


Easy – Moderate


Four ~8 hour days


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

Classroom Location – Apex Mountain School Office, Eagle-Vail, CO (see How to Find Us)

Interested in an online AIARE Level 1 course that will better align with your work schedule? This Apex Zoom course offers an alternative.  

*Courses run regardless of snow/weather conditions*


See our inclusion policy for special group requests.


  • Route/Trip Planning
  • Communication
  • Navigation
  • Terrain Management
  • How to assign a leader
  • Organize a group
  • Implement structured search patterns
  • Recovery

Similarly, we adapt to the individual and collective skill levels of the participants. As a result, we provide the greatest value to the participant based on where they are with their combined rescue skills. Altogether, these skills may include the subsequent rescue techniques.

  • Avalanche rescue
  • Multiple burial
  • Deep burial
  • Triage
  • Other aspects of backcountry rescue

Additionally, winter travel in the Colorado Rockies and beyond demands a strong knowledge of the following items in order to appropriately assess and manage risk.

  • Avalanche terrain
  • Avalanche types and characteristics
  • Human characteristics
  • Group dynamics


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 pre-screening approval.) 

Completion of prerequisite e-learning modules is required by AIARE prior to the start of all courses and participants should be prepared for the AIARE Level 1 modules to take about 4 hours.

Participants should also be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or split board (snowshoes are acceptable if no other option). All AIARE Level 1 and Rescue Combined courses take place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. Apex encourages students to come prepared for all mountain weather conditions.

Are you new to the backcountry or looking to hone your ski or split board skills prior to an AIARE course? Beginner Backcountry Ski and Split boarding outings with Apex are an excellent way to prepare! During a Vail Backcountry Skiing private outing, your Apex Mountain School guide will work with you on both up and downhill travel techniques and transitions as well as navigating in a backcountry environment.

Have you put off taking your Apex AIARE Level 1 course because you could not get a Friday off from work, don’t want to use your paid time of or another reason? This Apex Zoom course offers an alternative.  

AIARE Level 1 and Rescue Combo course registration is required.  Private AIARE Level 1 courses with Apex are also available.



  • 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-appropriate face covering at all times.

AIARE Level 1 Backcountry Curriculum



Throughout a 27 hour Apex AIARE Level 1 Backcountry course, consisting of 1 classroom day and 2 field days, the course will focus on the following natural elements:

  • The characteristics and types of avalanches
  • Movement of avalanches
  • Classifications by size and danger scale
  • Mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering
  • Heuristics or Human Factors and group management
  • Mapping, time management, route finding and navigation, as well as the latest standardized electronic tools and data/planning sites
  • Using the AIARE field book
  • Companion Rescue


Rescue Curriculum 

  • How to assign a leader
  • Organize a group
  • Implement structured search patterns
  • Recovery

We adapt to the individual and collective skill levels of the participants. This way we provide the greatest value to the participants based on where they are with the rescue skills. These skills may include the subsequent rescue techniques.

  • Avalanche rescue
  • Multiple burial
  • Deep burial
  • Triage
  • Other aspects of backcountry rescue

Winter travel in the Colorado Rockies and beyond demands a strong knowledge of the following items so we can appropriately asses and manage risk.

  • Avalanche terrain
  • Avalanche types and characteristics
  • Human characteristics
  • Group dynamics
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.