Avalanche Course Descriptions
CAG’s Backcountry Avalanche Safety Mentorship Program
Let Us Lead the Way
Colorado boasts some of the most intricate snow layers worldwide, attracting researchers globally. Navigating the backcountry, regardless of transportation means, necessitates a comprehensive grasp of avalanche dangers, along with the acumen to reduce such threats via suitable terrain evaluation and decision-making. If this sounds daunting, you may want to think about advancing through our Backcountry Mentorship Program. This tiered program is a fantastic opportunity whether you’re just beginning or planning to broaden your horizons. It’s an excellent way to experience the backcountry this winter and for many years into the future. Learn why Colorado Adventure Guides prefers the AIARE curriculum to teach avalanche safety education.
What is Backcountry Skiing or Backcountry Snowboarding in Avalanche Terrain?
Test your interest in traveling the backcountry in winter by attending one of our free Avy Savvy clinics. These are held at partner locations throughout the fall and early winter, and topics include Ski/Split 101 (an introduction to the gear and prep work needed,) Hut Trip 101 (how to use Colorado’s backcountry hut system correctly,) Avalanche 101 (an introduction to the basics,) Trip Planning 101 (how to choose a safer route,) State of the Snowpack (examines the area’s snowpack conditions and how they got that way,) and more each year.
What Will I Learn in CAG’s Various Avalanche Safety Classes?
Introduction to Backcountry Skiing or Splitboarding
This class is a perfect introduction to the skills and gear necessary to venture into the pristine Colorado backcountry confidently and explore. A stepping stone to help get you off the ski resort and away from the crowds. An excellent full-day adventure for those new to backcountry skiing or riding, it’s also a great way to gain experience prior to taking an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche course. This class also touches on basics of trip planning and hazard management in avalanche terrain. If you don’t already have the gear then check out our backcountry demo center with discounted ski and splitboards along with avalanche safety equipment rentals, and our guides will give you tips on how to use it all.
AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Safety Course
AIARE 1 is a 3-day course that introduces the AIARE Framework which helps participants work with a team to make better decisions in the backcountry and to manage avalanche risk. Get ready for some work: all of our Level 1 courses will include 24 hours of coursework at a minimum (e-learning and a live or virtual classroom day,) and two days on snow. We want to ensure that you get the education that you need, and we don’t cut corners in delivering the best safety course for your investment of time and energy! You’ll learn how to use an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe; what gear to bring with you; how to read an avalanche forecast; how to understand the formation of a snowpack and characteristics of avalanches; how to select a safer route; how to rescue a comrade, and more. Hut-based courses make the learning experience even more fun, and you get additional time to pick your instructors’ brains.
AIARE Companion Avalanche Rescue Course
The one-day, on-snow Rescue course gives participants the tools to execute a fast and effective avalanche rescue, and teaches you how to practice those rescue skills between trips, season after season. This course is intended to be retaken on a regular basis to update best practices in rescue techniques and gear, and to reinforce correct habits. New participants will learn companion rescue, and returning students will expand their skills and knowledge with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice. Advanced topics include multiple burials, advanced beacon functions, and evacuation considerations.
AIARE Level 2 – What is the Difference Between AIARE Level 1 and Level 2?
The 3-day AIARE Level 2 course builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1, and adds the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors, group leadership, and decision-making skills. All students must have taken an AIARE Level 1, AIARE Avalanche Rescue, and have at least one season of practical experience after taking the AIARE 1 course. Our AIARE 2 courses are unique because we often run them in a hut or snow camping format. This is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the environment while also learning how to execute a winter overnight in the backcountry. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack, and avalanche processes; and identify how these relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain in more complex situations on unfamiliar terrain. Participants on an AIARE Level 2 will receive direct coaching and mentoring from an Instructor.
How Do You Refresh Your Avalanche Safety Skills? – Take CAG’s Avalanche Refresher Course
If your AIARE Level 1 was taken years ago, you might want to refresh your skills. Or, if AIARE 1 seemed overwhelming and you need more practice of those skills, get out and make some turns in a Refresher course. Grab a few of your regular backcountry buddies and book a day with a guide/instructor for private learning and touring. The day can be tailored to the skills you want to spend the most time on, from trip planning to route selection, field observations to snowpack analysis, or simply just learning how to execute a backcountry ski tour from beginning to end while finding the best conditions.
Feel free to contact our accommodating booking staff who are on standby to help you with any questions and ensure your place in an AIARE course at Colorado Adventure Guides. You have the option of either securing your slot online or phoning us now to confirm your reservation.