Avalanche Courses

Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder or snowmobiler – there’s no better way to be backcountry ready than by taking an Avalanche Safety Course with Crested Butte Mountain Guides! Crested Butte Mountain Guides offers professional Level I and Level II courses as well as our popular Refresher Course, throughout the entire winter. Our instructors helped to developed the standard avalanche course curriculum used across Colorado and the country known as AIARE (Avalanche Institute for Avalanche Research and Education). ALL our instructors are AIARE trained and certified.

AIARE Avalanche Education in Colorado, pic 1

Avalanche Refresher Course

Already taken a Level 1 Avalanche Course, but feeling a bit rusty on your skills? Our 1-day Refresher Course is perfect for brushing up on those skills before re-entering the backcountry. We’ll spend the entire day out in the field, focusing on terrain recognition, travel techniques, decision-making, and a mock rescue scenario. This course is also a great a way to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, equipment, tests and techniques.  Instructor to student ratio is 6:1.


Avalanche Safety Course Level I

This course is a 3-day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. You will be presented with the basics of how to recognize these hazards, how to manage them, how to minimize them, and finally how to respond in case of an emergency. During this course, we’ll analyze an avalanche forecast, identify avalanche terrain and avalanche types, learn basic rescue techniques, gain an understanding of basic snow pack properties, learn the basics of route selection/terrain features, and more. Six town-based sessions will be offered. Instructor to student ratio is 6:1. Each session is open to a maximum of 12 students.


Avalanche Safety Course Level II

With a solid foundation of avalanche safety, we’ll dive deeper into the principles and techniques in Level I, but with a strong focus on the science behind it. This 4-day course is great for anyone looking to become a backcountry guide or for the advanced backcountry enthusiast. We’ll explore the snow metamorphism process and how it relates to backcountry snow stability, weak layer formation in the snow pack, temperature gradient and its effects on snow, standardized observations and recordings for weather, avalanche activity, and snowpack, practice advanced rescue techniques, and more. Instructor to student ratio is 6:1. Each session is open to a maximum of 12 students.


Hut-Based Level I

With our Level I Hut Course you’ll have the opportunity to put your newfound knowledge into practice immediately. The curriculum mirrors that of the Level I course, but takes place in the environment of a backcountry ski hut. You’ll be able to completely immerse yourself in the course curriculum by taking your Level I course at the Maroon Hut in the former mining town of Gothic (just outside the town of Crested Butte). Breakfast and dinner are provided during the 3-day course. Six hut-course sessions offered. Instructor to student ratio is 6:1. Each session is open to a maximum of 6 students.