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Trip

Colorado

Ski & Snowboard

Trip Hut-Based AIARE 1 Course
Sorry, this trip is sold out

Questions? Let us help! Call us at 1-866-386-1590
Spend a weekend in the backcountry and earn your essential avalanche training.

Imagine spending the weekend with avalanche professionals in the backcountry, learning about snow safety while sipping tea in front of a crackling wood stove, and skiing or snowboarding right to the hut and debriefing after the day outside. This Hut-Based AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course, offered by our local partners at Colorado Adventure Guides, is a 3-day experience that combines E-Learning, classroom, and field instruction to introduce participants to the hazards of traveling in avalanche terrain. Traveling in the backcountry requires a solid understanding of avalanche risk and knowledge to mitigate these risks through appropriate terrain assessment and decision making. Our AIARE certified leaders and instructors teach you how to recognize, manage, and minimize these hazards, and reduce risks. 
 
What sets our courses apart from the others? By choosing the hut-based setting, you’ll have the opportunity to pick your instructor’s brain during fireside chats in the evening. So all you need to bring are your meals, your favorite snacks, and a great attitude. We’ll take care of the rest!
 
What you’ll learn:
 
•    Trip planning and preparation
•    Reading and understanding the avalanche forecast
•    Classifications and characteristics of different types of avalanches
•    Recognizing hazardous conditions
•    Understanding a mountain snowpack
•    Basics of route selection and terrain management
•    Managing risk and decision making
•    Human factors and influence
•    Efficient use of beacon/shovel/probe
•    Companion rescue techniques
•    Group management

Book your spot, or book the entire hut for a private group course - up to 6 people.


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Itinerary
Itinerary
Note: Choice of location and itin­er­ary are sub­ject to change due to weath­er, unsafe route con­di­tions, or oth­er rea­sons beyond our con­trol and in the guide’s best judgment.
  • 1
    Day number 1
    One month prior to Day 1:
    E-Learning materials and Student Manual are sent and are to be completed by students. Students submit questions relating to E-Learning or Student Manual. Note: private courses can be taught with a traditional classroom component for day one instead of a Zoom format.

    The night before Day 1:
    5:00pm – 6:00pm : 1 hour Zoom session for quick intros, to answer questions, and review gear for the weekend.

    Day 1:
    Morning: Meet at the trailhead. Gather Gear and skin to cabin.
    Afternoon: Learning session
  • 2
    Day number 2
    Day 2:
    We commence 2 full days of classroom and field instruction and practice to hone your avalanche safety skills. We turn the hut into a classroom and cover trip planning, decision-making, route-finding techniques, and more. Field instruction takes place right out the door of the hut! We will travel by skis or splitboard, and will cover snow pit analysis and tests, and companion rescue techniques in a real mountain environment.
  • 3
    Day number 3
    Day 3:
    Repeat! Today we continue on with classroom instruction in our hut, followed by our final round of field instruction. Pack up, say goodbye to new friends, and start planning your next tour!
Trip Package Includes
  • 2 nights of hut lodging
  • AIARE certified course leader and instructor/s (6:1 maximum guide to student ratio)
  • AIARE course manual
  • AIARE field book 
  • AIARE certificate of completion 
  • CAG professional ski or splitboard guide 
  • Use of Ortovox Avalanche Safety Gear if needed (beacon, shovel, probe, pack)
  • Friends of CAIC Trailhead Membership ($35 value)
  • Summit Huts Association Single Use Membership if in a SMA Hut
  • Transportation from designated meeting place to the trailhead
  • 20% off service and 10% off rental at evo Denver store
  • 20% discount code at evo.com (exclusions apply)
Trip Package Does Not Include
  • Air­fare
  • Trans­porta­tion to and from designated meeting place
  • Food
  • Clothing and gear (see FAQ for recommendations)
  • Guide gra­tu­ities
  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)

Questions? Call or email us!
Area Information

Summit County and Beyond


Your guides will choose your course destination from one of the following three destinations, based on the best, most current information, conditions, and experience level among the group. First, the North London Mill Project (NoLo), Mosquito Pass, Park County, which provides unique access to hundreds of acres to fantastic backcountry skiing. Second, Dillon Area, Summit County -- the heart of CAG’s operation with access to thousands of acres of ridgelines, slopes and valleys to suit all levels of experience. Third, Front Range Zone, Clear Creek County offers options extending from the high alpine of Guanella and Loveland Passes, to the hidden trails of Butler Gulch, and secret stashes along the I-70 Corridor (but far from the crowds).
 
Trip Planning

Trip Planning

Below is a list of required and recommended equipment for your adventure. Dressing properly and having the correct equipment will help Colorado Adventure Guides provide a safer and more fun experience for your group. Though we cannot control the weather, we can make sure that you are prepared for whatever conditions we encounter in this mountain environment. Remember, the weather can change quickly and drastically.

Our guides recommend wearing technical clothing on all higher level hikes and winter activities, but is never a bad idea regardless of which activity you participate in. Technical clothing (polypro, merino wool, etc) is designed to help regulate body temperature and keep perspiration off of the skin. Not only is it safer, it dries faster, and is much more comfortable during exercise. When possible, please try to avoid wearing cotton like hoodies, denim jeans, cotton socks, etc. 

Colorado Adventure Guides strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible. We strongly urge you to bring your own hydration system or Nalgene bottles and fill them before heading to the trailhead. This reduces plastic pollution and the chance of accidentally leaving litter behind. Plus, our water is fresh and delicious up here in Summit County!

Required Equipment
Recommended Clothing
FAQ
FAQ
  • Can you tell me more about the hut I’ll be staying in?
    CAG has partnered with the Summit Huts Association as well as other private hut properties to offer backcountry ski/splitboard and hut trip education! Our partners include Timberline Lodge at Duck Lake Ski Resort - Guanella Pass, Park County, Colorado. Duck Lake is located on Guanella Pass at 11,000 feet in the Front Range of Colorado. The original lodge and cabins, known as “Alpendorf on the Lake” served as the family get away for the Coors family. From 1955 until 1957, when the lodge burned down, Duck Lake operated as a small ski area with one chair lift moving skiers up approximately 500 feet to enjoy turns down to the cabins. While the Lift has stopped the turns have not and we are now operating two rustic cabins that host a variety of backcountry adventures. The individual option will be at Francie’s Cabin – Summit Hut Association, Summit County, Colorado. As the official guide partner of the Summit Huts Association (SMA), with terrain permitting from the US Forest Service, we provide guided trip and educational classes at all of the SMA Huts. New for this year we are providing packaged Intro to Huts and AIARE Level 1 courses in Francie’s & Sisters Cabins. These large modern huts are located in the heart of Summit County and are easily accessed on non-motorized trails via skis or splitboard. These huts provide semi-private sleeping rooms and are perfect for beginner and experienced backcountry travelers.
  • I need local accommodations before or after this trip. Do you have recommendations?
    Joining CAG for a Breck based adventure? Elevate your time in the mountains this winter with 20% off lodging at Gravity Haus Breckenridge by using promo code EVO at time of booking. Unlimited access to our Max Air super trampoline, hot tubs, fitness, and events coupled with discounted backcountry adventures, food & beverage & more! Located at the Base of Peak 9, Breck Haus is your slope side base camp for all things adventure.
  • What COVID-19 policies do you have in place?
    Colorado Adventure Guides has a detailed COVID-19 Operations Plan which will be shared prior to the trip. All participants must fill out a pre-trip COVID-19 questionnaire/agreement. Classroom lectures will be held via Zoom instead of in person (exceptions may apply for private groups) . In the field, a face covering must be worn at times when social distancing cannot be maintained. All group activities will observe public health codes applicable to the area of operations. Current COVID-19 guidelines can be viewed here https://www.coloradoadventureguides.com/keeping-up-with-covid/
  • What if I would like to book a private group course?
    For those who would like to select all the members of their party and take over an entire hut, you may book a private group course. This option can be booked for a maximum of 6 people and a total cost of $5500. Course dates can be requested between February 1 and March 31, subject to availability. If you are interested, please let us know!
  • Do I need any prior training to participate in this course?
    No prior backcountry experience is required, but participants should have experience on their touring setup prior to taking this course.
  • How physically fit do I need to be for this course?
    Colorado Adventure Guides is committed to the safety of their guests. Their guides are trained to recognize potentially hazardous situations in the backcountry; they plan and operate accordingly. Prior to your departure 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.
  • Are rentals available?
    Yes, rental gear is available and can be rented directly through the evo Denver store for 10% off. You may also rent avalanche safety gear directly through CAG.
  • When and how do I meet up with the group?
    For courses your instructor will contact you at least 1 week prior to course start to discuss details.
  • What is the maximum number of guests on the trip?
    Colorado Adventure Guides guest to guide ratio is 6:1 on education courses. All groups of 6 or more are split into smaller groups to maintain the guest to guide ratio and adhere to COVID group size protocols. Maximum total number of guests is 18 for Francie's Cabin and 12 for Duck Lake Cabin.
  • Is there a minimum age required for this trip?
    We will accept par­tic­i­pants 16 years or old­er, if they are accom­pa­nied by a legal guardian. You must be 18 years or old­er to attend a trip on your own.
  • What if I need to change the dates of my course/trip?
    Rescheduling will be honored 14 days prior to any course or camp 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. If you need to cancel within the two week period, and we are able to fill your spot, we will refund your payment less a $50 administrative fee. If we cannot fill your spot, you will be charged the full amount. Notice of cancellation more than 14 days in advance will receive a full refund less a 10% administrative fee.
  • What if I need to cancel?
    evo will refer to the Colorado Adventure Guides cancellation policy. If you need to can­cel your course, 14 days advance notice of cancellation is required. This allows CAG the time to contact those who have been put on the waitlist. If you need to cancel within the two week period, and CAG is able to fill your spot, you will receive a refund less a $50 administrative fee. If your spot cannot be filled, you will be charged the full amount. Notice of cancellation more than 14 days in advance will receive a full refund less a 10% administrative fee.
Testimonials
Anne was amazing!! She was incredibly knowledgeable.I am so grateful I got to do my Avi 1 with her, Dave and Abe, can't wait to get out there this winter to practice what we learned!
Kristy
Trip Guest
The whole Colorado Adventure Guides crew was knowledgeable, professional, and fun. I’m sitting at home studying the material and checking out all the great resources they shared. Excited to keep the education going! Thanks for a great experience!
Ruthie
Trip Guest
I highly recommend this course to anyone who’s new to the backcountry.
Jill
Trip Guest

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