About the Course
The course we selected is the standard AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course 3-Day course, offered in the traditional classroom and field instruction format to introduce participants to the hazards of traveling in avalanche terrain.
Traveling in the backcountry requires a solid understanding of avalanche risk and the knowledge to mitigate these risks through appropriate terrain assessment and decision making. Colorado is home to one of the most complex snowpacks in the entire world, and people come from all across the globe to study the snowpack here. Our local team of AIARE-certified leaders and instructors have an intimate relationship with the local terrain and snowpack conditions where we operate and will teach you how to recognize, manage, and minimize these hazards, and to reduce risks. Avalanche Safety education is the core of our winter operations and we are pleased to offer education in six Colorado Counties, including ski resort-based and hut-based courses.
All of our Level 1 courses will include 24 hours of coursework at a minimum, including advance e-learning, and two days on snow. We want to make sure that you get the safety education that you need, and we don’t cut corners in delivering the best product to maximize your benefit!
Value of This Experience
- Gravity Haus members receive a massive discount off of the public pricing. $700 for our members. Public access is $900.
Who Should Attend This Course?
- Students should be able to SAFELY ski/ride a black diamond in any snow conditions.
- Students know how to use their backcountry ski/ride gear. Splitboarders should know how to assemble and disassemble their gear.
- Students are fit enough to travel in the backcountry for multiple hours for 3 days.
- Students should be prepared for multiple hours of learning in the cold.
- Do I need to be a good skier/snowboarder to participate? This course can be taken on alpine touring skis or a splitboard (both are available to rent via Haus Quiver if you have the correct membership access. Simply open the Gravity App to book.) No prior backcountry experience is required but it is highly recommended that participants with touring gear have experience on their setup prior to taking this course and be comfortable in steep blue to black terrain at a ski resort.
- When should I take my AIARE 1? The AIARE 1 course is developed for new to intermediate backcountry users, or for those looking to formalize their education. This course is for experienced resort skiers/riders that have knowledge of how to use their backcountry touring equipment.
- What kind of shape should I be in for this course? Colorado Adventure Guides’ priority is keeping our patrons and students safe. Our instructors are trained to recognize potentially hazardous situations in the backcountry; they plan and operate accordingly. Prior to the start of any course or backcountry trip you will complete a brief health history. The failure to disclose pertinent information on the health history form could result in serious harm, even death, to the signing participant, other guests and/or the guide. All information submitted is completely confidential; it is for the guide’s use and would only be shared in the event of an emergency with medical and/or rescue personnel directly caring for the guest. This can be a physically demanding course, and your ability to enjoy the adventure depends on your health and fitness, thus it’s recommended that you are in good physical condition.
- Do I get to talk to the guides before the trip starts? Yes! Your course instructors will contact you in advance to set up details. Students will be encouraged to use our CAG company vans or to carpool to help alleviate trailhead overcrowding.
- How big is the class? 8 attendees, plus 2 guides and a Gravity Haus host.
- Is there any prep work required? Yes, Colorado Adventure Guides will have mandatory pre-work for all attendees.
- Where are we staying? Carner’s Cabin – a great base camp for backcountry adventures on the high Colorado trails. Wildlife sightings are very common. No electricity or running water – we’ll bring oour own bottled water and melt snow on the wood burning stove. There are indoor composting toilet facilities, a propane gas cook stove, kitchen utensils (pots, pans, etc.), and oil lamps.
- What else should I pack? Everything listed here.
- Does the AIARE 1 certificate expire? The AIARE 1, 2 and Rescue certificates do not have an expiration date, however, it is strongly encouraged that you practice and maintain the skills and knowledge covered in this course.
- Should I tip my course instructors? Your instructors work hard before, during, and after your course to provide you with the best safety education and a great experience, and while not expected, gratuities are always highly appreciated. If you had a safe, educational, and fun experience, gratuities typically range from 15-20%.
What You’ll Learn
- Efficient use of beacon/shovel/probe
- Pre-trip equipment check
- Survival gear checklist
- Understanding a mountain snowpack
- Reading and understanding the avalanche forecast
- Classifications of avalanches
- Characteristics of different types of avalanches
- Basics of route selection and terrain management
- Trip planning and preparation
- Rescue and emergency preparation
- Group management
- Recognizing hazardous conditions
- Managing risk and decision making
- Human factors and influence
- Companion rescue techniques
Syllabus & Schedule
E-Learning materials and Student Manual are sent 1 month prior to course start to be completed. If you sign up after this time, you will be sent the material immediately.
Monday, December 18
- 5:30 pm – Pre-trip call with guides and fellow attendees
Friday, January 5 – Classroom & Field Session
- Travel to hut, settle in, and learn companion rescue
Saturday, January 6 – Classroom and Field Session
- Managing uncertainty, developing a forecast, discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.
Sunday, January 7 – Field Application
- Hut breakdown, student-led tour, course close
Trip Package Includes
- Lodging – 2 nights
- AIARE Certified Course Leader and Instructor/s (6:1 maximum guide to student ratio)
- AIARE Course Manual
- AIARE Field Book
- AIARE Certificate of Completion
- CAG professional ski or splitboard guide
- Use of Ortovox Avalanche Safety Gear if needed (beacon, shovel, probe, pack)
- Transportation from designated meeting place to the trailhead
Trip Package Does Not Include
- Backcountry skis or splitboards – available to rent via Haus Quiver based on your membership type!
- Transportation to designated meeting place
- Clothing and gear (a recommended packing list will be provided upon booking)
- Insurance (Trip or Rescue)
- Meals not listed above