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AIARE Level 1 - Avalanche Safety Course

AIARE Level 1 | Avalanche Safety

3-Day Intro to Managing Avalanche Hazard

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AIARE 1 Colorado

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Colorado Adventure Guides offers AIARE 1 courses based out of our basecamp in Central Colorado. AIARE level 1 is a 3-day introduction to managing avalanche hazard where you will learn a repeatable process to manage your risk and learn from your experiences in the backcountry. Students will also practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, keeping track of conditions, communicating, making decisions about hazards while in the backcountry, and learning rescue techniques if an avalanche occurs and someone is caught.

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AIARE 1 Avalanche Safety


All of our AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Courses are a minimum of 24 hours in length within a 3-Day in-person course. Our courses are formatted by combining E-Learning, classroom and field instruction to introduce participants to the hazards of traveling in avalanche terrain. Your education is of upmost importance to us and we want to make sure that you get the education that you need and don’t cut corners in delivering the best product so that we can maximize your commitment!

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What You'll Learn

Avalanche Shovel Icon

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

Map Icon
Trip Preparation

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

Colorado Avalanche Safety Education Video

AIARE Level 1

Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain Program

Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain is a three-part program for individuals who enjoy winter recreation in the backcountry. The entire Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program includes seven days of classroom, field, and self-paced online training. The curriculum is typically delivered in the following parts: the AIARE 1 (3 days), Avalanche Rescue (1 day), and the AIARE 2 (3 days)

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AIARE 1 Perks

Perks of Taking AIARE 1 with CAG

  • 10% off Desert Mountain Medicine Wilderness First Aid Courses
  • 15% off all advanced AIARE courses or a guided ski/splitboard tour
  • FREE use of Ortovox avalanche equipment
  • Discount on the newest DPS and Weston ski and splitboard demos
  • Discounted nearby lodging
  • Certified, passionate, and personable instructors
  • We operate in high quality and true backcountry terrain
  • Multiple course options and dates throughout the season
  • A minimum of 24 hours of coursework. With us you get what you pay for!
  • Access to all CAG snow safety videos throughout the season

Hut Based AIARE 1 Courses

Immerse Yourself in the Backcountry

Imagine spending the weekend with avalanche professionals in the backcountry, learning about snow safety while sipping tea in front of a crackling wood stove. Backcountry skiing or snowboarding right to the hut to enjoy a cold beer while debriefing the day. Students will practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, keeping track of conditions, communicating, making decisions about hazards while in the backcountry, and learning rescue techniques, and how to execute a winter backcountry hut trip!

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Lift-Access AIARE 1 Courses

Get a little help from the resort

Back again for this season we have partnered up with Winter Park Ski Resort to offer lift-accessed AIARE 1 courses! These courses will be ran in the traditional 3-day format as other courses, but the field days will be based out of the resort where the team will use lifts to access the terrain. These courses will still have touring components outside of the resort boundaries and so touring gear is still required. Lift passes not included.

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Splitboard Specific AIARE 1 Courses

Sponsored by Weston Backcountry

Colorado Adventure Guides is proud to be one of the original splitboard specific course developers and providers in the country! With the support of Weston Backcountry, we will be offering two splitboard specific AIARE 1 Courses this season. Want more? Check out out Splitboard Progression Program!

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Female Specific AIARE 1 Courses

Break down the barrier!

Colorado Adventure Guides is proud to offer female-specific avalanche courses again this season! We understand there are sometimes barriers in backcountry education and are here to support female-identifying individuals along the way! We are one of the first outfitters to offer women’s specific avalanche education and are the biggest provider of avalanche education in Summit County. Check out and join in on one of our Female Specific courses this season and get out with a likeminded group! Contact us for availability!

Avalanche Education Courses

Why Choose Us

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 are passionate about where we live, work, and teach and have an intimate relationship with the local terrain and snowpack conditions where we operate. Check out our Why Should I Take an AIARE Course with CAG blog to learn more.

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AIARE Level 1 Course Sample Outline


E-Learning materials and Student Manual for AIARE Level 1 are sent one month prior to course

Day 1

8:00am–4:00pm : Classroom Presentations and Trip Planning Lesson

Day 2
Field Session

7:30am – 3:30pm : Companion Rescue and Making Relevant Observations.

Day 3
Field Application

7:30am – 4:00pm : Student Led Tour and Course Close

AIARE 1 General Info

Course Duration

3 days (24+ hrs)

Course Dates

2024/2025 Course dates as follows; 

Standard Level 1 Courses:

  • December 6th-8th
  • December 13th-15th
  • December 20th-22nd
  • December 27th-29th
  • January 3rd-5th
  • January 10th-12th
  • January 17th-19th
  • January 24th-26th
  • January 31st -Feb 2nd
  • February 7th-9th
  • February 14th-16th
  • February 21st-23rd
  • February 28th-Mar 2nd
  • March 7th-9th
  • March 14th-16th
  • March 21st-23rd
  • March 28th-30th

Hut-Based Level 1 Courses:

  • Jan 10-12th, 2025 @ Sisters Hut
  • Jan 17th-19th, 2025 @ Broome Hut SOLD OUT
  • Feb 7th-9th, 2025 @ Francies Hut SOLD OUT
  • Feb 17th-19th, 2025 @ Sisters Hut SOLD OUT
  • Feb 24th-26th 2025 @ Broome Hut
  • Mar 7th-9th, 2024 @ Broome Hut
  • Mar 24th-26th, 2025 @ Francies hut

Lift-Accessed Resort Based Level 1 Courses @ Winter Park:

  • January 10th-12th
  • February 21st-23rd

Splitboard Specific Level 1 Courses:

  • January 3rd-5th

$635 per person / $995 per person Hut-Based

Student:Instructor Ratio

6 Students:1 Instructor


Summit Country, CO and surrounding locations.

Silverthorne Basecamp:

204 Ryan Gulch Rd Silverthorne, CO 80498

Required Equipment

Backcountry Packing List

CAG Avalanche Course Equipment List – PDF 

Avalanche Beacon

Avalanche Probe

Avalanche Shovel

Medium sized backpack (approx. 40L)

Alpine Touring Skis, Telemark Skis, or Splitboard

Climbing Skins (must be properly fitted)


Helmet (optional)

Recommended Clothing

Hard or softshell pants

Synthetic or merino wool base layer

Softshell jacket (optional)

Down or synthetic insulated jacket

Hardshell or water/wind resistant jacket

Light gloves for uphill travel

Warm gloves

Brimmed hat or visor


Neck gaitor or buff

Rental Gear

Backcountry gear necessary for AIARE Level 1 can be rented directly from Colorado Adventure Guides at our Silvethorne, CO Basecamp. Please visit our rentals page or contact us for details.

Local Accommodations

Joining CAG for a Summit based adventure? Check out our partners at The Pad, Silverthorne’s first boutique hotel/hostel, centrally-located along the Blue River, in the heart of Colorado ski country. Built for the modern traveler, their affordable, yet high-amenity, lodging in beautiful Summit County, Colorado allows our guests to prioritize experience, adventure and to focus their spending on activities and experiences in the Rocky Mountains and our community. Just ask the folks at CAG for details or click the button below for 10% off your stay!

The Pad
Reschedule/Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be honored for cancellations more than 14 DAYS PRIOR to a course or a camp start time. An administrative fee of 10% will be assessed for all cancellations.

All activities are Rain or Shine. In case of operator cancellation due to adverse or unsafe conditions prior to start time, first the operator will attempt to reschedule. If rescheduling is not possible, the client will receive a full refund. Operator, including guides in the field, reserve the right to shorten or reroute activity in the case of unmanageable hazards or inability of guest to complete the objective. Completion of objective-based routes is not guaranteed.

Rescheduling will be honored 14 days prior to AIARE Level 1 start date. An administrative fee of 10% will be assessed for all rescheduling. This allows us the time to contact those who have been put on the wait-list.


AIARE Level 1 can be taken on alpine touring skis or splitboard. It is a requirement that participants are familiar with their touring gear and have experience on their setup prior to taking this course. Alpine touring skis and splitboards are available for rent from our Silverthorne, CO basecamp.

Students on skis or boards must be comfortable in steep blue to black terrain at the ski resort.

Students should be able to travel off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow.

Don’t know how to use your touring gear yet? Sign up for one of our 1-day Intro to Backcountry Ski or Splitboard Courses!

Price Includes
  • Local AIARE Certified Course Leader and Instructors
  • 24-hour course with a 6:1 maximum instructor to student ratio
  • Student manual and weather-proof AIARE field book
  • Use of beacon, shovel and probe (if needed)
Price Does Not Include
  • Air­fare
  • Accommodations
  • Trans­porta­tion to and from designated meeting place
  • Food
  • Clothing and gear (see FAQ for recommendations)
  • Guide gra­tu­ities
  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)

Colorado AIARE 1 Student Testimonials


How much does AIARE 1 Cost?

Colorado Adventure Guides offers the AIARE 1 – 3 day Avalanche Safety Course starting at $595 per person.

How physically fit do I need to be to take AIARE 1?

Colorado Adventure Guides is 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 be asked to 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 need to be a good skier/snowboarder to take AIARE 1?

It is recommended that you are familiar with your backcountry equipment and possess the skiing/snowboarding ability to comfortably ride steep blue and black runs at a resort to take AIARE 1.

Do you offer AIARE 1 as a private group course?

For those who would like to select all the members of their party, you may book a private group course. Private groups may select a traditional classroom component instead of Zoom, if they prefer. Course dates can be requested between February 1 and March 31, subject to availability. If you are interested, please let us know!

When and how do I meet up with the group for my AIARE 1 course?

For classroom based courses you will meet at our Silverthorne basecamp. For field based days students will be encouraged to utilize our CAG Company vans or to carpool to help alleviate trailhead overcrowding.

Should I tip my AIARE instructor?

Your instructors work hard before, during, and after your course to provide you with a great experience and while not expected, gratuities are always highly appreciated and if you had a safe, educational, and fun experience. Gratuities typically range from 15-20%.

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 a base knowledge of how to use their backcountry touring equipment. Not quite there yet? Check out our 1-day Intro to Ski/Splitboard Courses

Can skip AIARE 1?

The AIARE 1 course is part 1 of the Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program. The Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program is a recreational program that consists of 3 courses spanning a total of 7 days. While there is no actual certification after taking the courses you will obtain course completions. With that being said, the AIARE 1 course is a prerequisite to the AIARE 2 course and so you must attend the AIARE 1 course to continue with the program.

Does AIARE 1 Certificate Expire?

The AIARE 1 certificate does not have an expiration date. It is strongly encouraged that you practice and maintain the skills and knowledge covered in this course. Colorado Adventure Guides offers Avalanche Refresher Courses to help keep your backcountry knowledge and skills fresh.

Where can I take AIARE 1 in Colorado?

Colorado Adventure Guides offers AIARE 1 based out of basecamp in Silverthorne, Colorado. AIARE 1 courses will be split between the classroom curriculum and in the field at various locations in Summit County and surrounding areas including Eagle County, Clear Creek County, and Grand County. We also offer hut-based and ski resort based courses.


Took the Level 1 AIARE course with Justin, Mikey and Nicholas. They were incredibly knowledgeable, but also kept the course fun and engaging! The class catered to all levels which made it feel very personalized with their 1-1 support. You're going to wish you signed up years ago!


My wife and I really enjoyed the AIARE 1 course we took through CAG. Knowledgeable instructors that made the experience a lot of fun. We feel much more confident in the backcountry after completing the course.


I'I booked an Intro to Backcountry course and my AIARE Level 1 through them too. The Intro to Backcountry course was so much fun, Sean was an informative and friendly guide that made sure we were learning backcountry skills through the course, not just following his lead. I'm really looking forward to my upcoming AIARE 1 class!


I took the Aiare level 1 course. These guy did a great job and made the course fun. I learned a ton and am confident in my new skills. I highly recommend them.


Took the 3 day AIARE 1 course with Justin and Sunshine as my instructors. Both Justin and Sunshine were organized, extremely knowledgeable and did a great job of conveying the course material in a logical, easy to understand manner, during the classroom portion. We toured with each guide for a day and they were both terrific in the field. .

Avalanche Education Articles


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Other Winter Courses
Intro to Backcountry Touring
Skiing & Splitboarding
Intro to Backcountry
AIARE Avalanche Companion Rescue
Companion Avalanche Rescue
AIARE Rescue
AIARE 1 Hut Based
Avalanche Safety Course
AIARE 1 Hut Based
AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Education Course
Snow stability & avalanche hazard
AIARE Level 2

Book AIARE 1 Today!

Book online or call today to reserve your spot

Our AIARE Level 1 courses have limited capacity and tend to book up months in advance. It is strongly recommended that you reserve your spot before the winter season starts.

204 Ryan Gulch Rd Silverthorne, CO 80498

(970) 893-8007


    204 Ryan Gulch Rd Silverthorne, CO 80498


    (970) 893-8007

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