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Immerse yourself in the backcountry classroom in Crested Butte

Why Take AIARE Courses with Us

  • Smaller class sizes

  • Highest-caliber instructors with supplemental certifications and experience managing avalanche terrain, i.e. Ski Patrol

  • Curriculum that prioritizes experiential learning by skiing laps on tour days and scouting out powder. No snowshoeing.

  • Excellent access to terrain and trailheads just 15 minutes from the classroom

  • Added resource of the local avalanche center

Course Description

This course covers all the information in a standard American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) Level 1 Course, but uses a real backcountry ski hut for a classroom! Class sizes are smaller and more intimate in hut-based courses and you have the added advantage of being able to apply your new knowledge immediately.  

The Maroon and Crystal Huts in Gothic Colorado (located just outside of Crested Butte) is a mellow 4-mile ski from the trailhead. The Maroon Hut has raised the bar for backcountry lodging and includes heat, electricity, running water, and outhouse facilities.

Course Objectives

Students will come away from the course having learned: 

  • How to prepare and plan for a backcountry tour 
  • How to analyze an avalanche forecast
  • How to identify avalanche terrain & avalanche types
  • How to recognize hazardous conditions 
  • Basic snowpack understanding 
  • Route selection and terrain features
  • Snowpack tests and interpretation 
  • Educated decision making 
  • Basic rescue techniques 
  • Group management

Inclusions

  • AIARE Level 1 Course Manual 
  • AIARE Field Book 
  • AIARE Level 1 certificate upon completion of course

Gothic Huts

1-6

People¹

6:1

Guest to Guide Ratio

$5000²³

3 days

$5800²³

4 days

¹Max 10 students and 2 instructors

²Avalanche safety gear and backcountry touring set-ups can be rented for an additional fee

³Additional $150 per person for AIARE course

Photographer Add-on

Let us capture your memories so you can focus on your adventure! A photographer is $350 per trip and based on availability. Please let the Irwin Guide’s office know 48hrs before your trip if you would like to add this to your reservation.

10th Mountain Division Huts

A hut to hut system between Aspen & Crested Butte

1-6

People¹

$6000²³

3 days

$6800²³

4 days

6:1

Guest to Guide Ratio

How to Book

Please call our office at 970-349-5430 or email us at [email protected]

Course Details

Requirements Certifications Prerequisites2

Requirements

Participants should have some previous experience backcountry skiing/riding and be familiar with how to use their touring gear.

Requirements Certifications Prerequisites2

Certifications

Our course is certified by the American Institute of Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) and our guides are trained by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA).

Private Courses2

Private Hut Trips

Private hut trips are available. Call our office to learn more.

Age2

Age

You must be 16 years or older to participate.

Apply your new knowledge immediately!

Click Book Now to get started planning your adventure