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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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Colorado Adventure Guides Logo

AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Safety Course

Colorado Adventure Guides Crossed Skis

Colorado Adventure Guides offers AIARE 1 courses based out of our basecamp in Summit County, 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.

Colorado Adventure Guides Crossed Ski Poles
Activities Offered
Acres of Terrain
5 Star Reviews
Years in Business

AIARE Avalanche Safety


For 2021/2022 the standard AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course 3-Day courses will be offered both as a traditional classroom format as well as a hybrid course option that combines both E-Learning, Zoom, and field instruction to introduce participants to the hazards of traveling in avalanche terrain.

Covid-19 Policies

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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

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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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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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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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.

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AIARE 1 Perks

AIARE 1 Perks

Perks of Taking AIARE 1 with CAG
  • 10% off Desert Mountain Medicine
  • Trailhead membership to CAIC
  • 15% off all advanced AIARE courses or a guided ski/splitboard tour
  • Discount on ORTOVOX Avalanche Equipment
  • Access to all CAG snow safety videos throughout the season

AIARE Level 1 Course 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)

  • Dec 3-5: Virtual
  • Dec  10-12: Classroom
  • Dec 17-19: Virtual
  • Dec 31 – Jan 2: Classroom
  • Jan 7-9: Virtual Splitboard Specific
  • Jan 14-16: Virtual
  • Jan 21-23: Classroom
  • Jan 28-30: Virtual
  • Feb 4-6: Virtual
  • Feb 11-13: Classroom
  • Feb 18-20: Virtual
  • Feb 25-27: Virtual
  • Mar 4-6: Classroom Splitboard Specific
  • Mar 18-20: Virtual
  • Mar 25-27: Classroom
  • Apr 1-3: Virtual
  • Apr 8-10: Virtual
  • Apr 15-17: Classroom

$595 per person

Student:Instructor Ratio

6 Students:1 Instructor


Summit Country, CO and surrounding locations.

Silverthorne Basecamp:

204 Ryan Gulch Rd Silverthorne, CO 80498

Required Equipment

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)
COVID-19 Policies

While we are very excited to bring back in-person and hut-based AIARE Level I Courses this season, we are cognizant that COVID-19 remains problematic, and we are instituting safety policies for our students, guides, and staff.

As such, for all classroom based and hut-based courses we will be requiring

Proof of full COVID-19 Vaccination
Proof of a negative COVID-19 Test 48 Hours Prior to the course

Depending on the severity of the COVID-19 situation at time of the course, we may be requiring masks for indoor courses. We will continue to follow all local, State, and CDC health guidelines throughout the season and as such our COVID policy is subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

How physically fit do I need to be for this course?

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.

What if I would like to book 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 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 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 the 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.


November 2021
Beacon Bash
December 2021
Ski/Splitboard 101 Clinic
December 2021
December 2021
AIARE Rescue
December 2021
Slay at Home Clinic – Hut Trip 101
December 2021
December 2021
Intro to Ski/Splitboard Course
December 2021
Avy 101/State of the Snowpack Clinic
December 2021
December 2021
AIARE Rescue
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 Level 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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