AIARE L1 Avalanche Course

  • PLEASE NOTE: We will continue with our online classroom for our 2022-2023 Avy course season; coursework will be a mix of Zoom sessions & self-paced learning/reading via Google Classroom. The 2 field days will still operate as normal. Instructors will contact students with all details prior to the course start.

    If you are reading this you most likely have made the decision to take an AIARE L1.  If you are wondering what makes our courses different from the many others that are offered….

    it’s the skiing and riding!  Specifically it is our veteran backcountry ski guides and the easily accessed top quality backcountry ski and avalanche education terrain.  

    Our AIARE avalanche instructors are all AMGA trained / certified local backcountry ski guides.  We have an ideal learning environment, with the ability to take the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain at 12,675’ in 14 minutes.  From here the 360° views of the surrounding Elk Mountains are breathtaking. This immediate elevation also permits us to run our early and late season courses when many others are canceled due to lack of snow.  From the top, we exit the backcountry gates and immediately access high quality Level 1 terrain with a deep snowpack for snow studies, companion rescue training and safe lower angle backcountry meadows and gladed runs without hours upon hours of uphilling.

    Students that are a great fit for our Avalanche Courses - any current or future backcountry skier / rider that knows how to skin uphill and is familiar with their backcountry uphill equipment and how to use it.  This person has ideally skied off-piste in untracked snow before and can safely ski single black diamond terrain inbounds. 

    Students that may not be a great fit for our Avalanche Courses - Beginner skiers and riders.  Anyone that has not used uphill skinning equipment before the course and those that are not familiar with how to use their gear.  We want to focus on avalanche education in our high-quality courses and NOT how to use our backcountry ski and snowboarding equipment.  We do offer private avalanche education courses on request for those that may need extra instruction and for non-skiers / riders that may prefer to snowshoe or cross-country ski. 

    Click here for our amazing Hut Based Avalanche Courses 

    The Level 1 Course includes +/-8 hours of online instruction and +/-16 hours of field instruction. The course cost includes AIARE manual, AIARE dues & AIARE field book. Subjects covered include;

    • Types of avalanches
    • Characteristics of avalanches
    • How avalanches form and release
    • Assessing avalanche terrain
    • Trip planning and preparation
    • Route Finding Decision making
    • Avalanche gear review (beacons, probes, airbags, etc.)
    • Rescue protocols and procedures

    Please feel free to contact us via phone at 970-925-7625 or email to request more information. Custom dates available!

  • Location: Meet at Aspen Expeditions' backcountry center at Aspen Highlands.

    Maximum Guide Ratio: 6:1

    Fitness Level: All courses are designed for the groups physical ability and needs.

    Includes: AIARE instructor/AMGA trained/certified ski guide, use of avalanche beacon, shovel, probe & ski pack, AIARE dues, AIARE field book, 3% USFS land use surcharge

    Not included: Personal skiing equipment (Alpine Touring (AT) ski, or snowboard equipment (available for rent at 50% discount), single ride lift tickets $41 - (often the instructors use Aspen Mountain to gain access to higher elevation snow which would require a lift ticket for a one time gondola ride), lunch/snack food.

    Avalanche Course participants will receive the following discounts: 50% discount on AT demo ski equipment and 10% off avalanche gear through Cripple Creek Backcountry.
  • Course Schedule:

    • Day 1 - 6 pm: Google Classroom & two Zoom meetings
    • Day 2 - 8:30 am: Start, combination Classroom and field day, 5:30 pm evening Zoom
    • Day 3 - Start determined by instructor for a field day


      The following items are provided for your day tour:

      • Day-tour backpack: (airbag available)
      • Avalanche Transceiver
      • Probe
      • Avy shovel: metal blade is a must


      • Socks: Wool or synthetic ski socks
      • Base layers: Synthetic, wool or silk bottom, underwear and top
      • Mid Layer: Synthetic or wool zip shirt
      • Hard Shell or Softshell pants: A pair with side vents are best.
      • Insulated vest or jacket: down or synthetic.


      • Water bottle
      • Small thermos: (Optional)
      • Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof
      • Headlamp
      • Toiletries, Personal first-aid kit: for your personal meds/needs
      • Camera or Smartphone
      • Lunch/Snack food
    • Prep

      Aspen Expeditions' will provide you with a pack w/probe, shovel & avalanche beacon if your don't have your own gear. If you need alpine touring ski equipment (AT skis, skins, boots) we can arrange to set you up at Aspen Highlands shop or the night before between 3:00-5:00 pm.

      Participants will travel through the winter backcountry for field days on skis, splitboard with skins, or snowshoes. Come dressed appropriately with warm layers for moderate physical exertion in cool and wintry weather.


      It is suggested that you maintain a good level of physical fitness. Maintain and build heart and lung endurance with cardiovascular activities such as swimming, cycling, running and hiking. Hike up hill, up stairs or do squats to prepare your legs for mountain travel.


      Follow an avalanche course with a day of lift-served and/or backcountry ski ski day, a backcountry ski tour, a backcountry ski camp, hut trip or international ski trip.


      Booking/Cancellation policy:

      AE requires a full credit card or cash/check payment to hold your reservation. If you choose to cancel within 7 days of a scheduled trip, you will be charged full price. Within 7-14 days of your trip, we would be happy to work out a date to reschedule. If you choose to cancel 2 weeks or more (3 weeks or more for multi-day trips of 5+ people) prior to your scheduled trip, you will receive a full refund. If your guide decides that weather makes your scheduled trip a no-go, we will work with you to reschedule, give you a credit, or refund your trip. Travel Guard insurance is available via our website homepage.

      Risk Management

      Please note: AEW's number one priority is your safety. Many conditions affect our guides' decisions in the mountains, including client fitness and comfort, weather conditions and route conditions. There are inherent hazards in mountain travel such as inclement weather, avalanches, rock fall, ice fall that our guides manage yet cannot eliminate. The combination of our guides' formal training and wealth of experience assures that their sound decision create an enjoyable and safe mountain experience. Aspen Expeditions reserves the right to turn around or change routes without refunds or credits under any conditions.

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