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Live to Ski – Ski to Live – Get educated 


Why Take AIARE Courses with Us

  • Irwin Guides avalanche education courses utilize up to 4 different drainages out of the Crested Butte basin, all within a ten minute drive from downtown Crested Butte.  If ten minutes is too much and you want the all immersive experience, sign up for one of our hut based courses and ski from the front door! 
  • Learn from trained professionals who are educators and guides alike. With professional avalanche mitigation experience from the backcountry, ski areas, snowcat, and heli skiing operations, both with and without the use of explosives.
  • Our guides are full-time practitioners who guide year round, around the world, drawing on an array of experiences throughout different snowpacks from around the world, which allows them to customize the teaching to every different group. 
  • AIARE Avalanche education began here in the Gunnison Valley, and the founders can still be seen around skiing, in turn influencing the quality and progression of Irwin Guides products. 
  • Unlike many AIARE providers, Irwin Guides limits course sizes to offer more personalized learning for each student, and ensure that each course is staffed by the highest quality instructors.
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  • AIARE Level 1 Course Manual 
  • AIARE Field Book 
  • AIARE Level 1 certificate upon completion of course

Friday - Sunday Courses

  • Dec. 8 – 10, 2023 COMPLETED
  • Dec. 15 -17, 2023 COMPLETED
  • Jan. 5 – 7, 2024 COMPLETED
  • Jan 19 – 21, 2024 COMPLETED
  • Jan. 26 – 28, 2024 COMPLETED
  • Feb 16 – 18, 2024
  • March 1- 3, 2024


  • Coming soon!

Things to Know


Per Person¹


Guest to Guide Ratio

¹Avalanche safety gear and backcountry touring set-ups can be rented for an additional fee

Tuesday - Thursday Courses

  • Dec.26 – 28, 2023 COMPLETED
  • Jan. 30 – Feb 1st, 2024 COMPLETED
  • March 12-14, 2024
  • March 19 – 21, 2024

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday

¹Evening Zoom courses on Tuesday & Thursday with in field courses on Saturday & Sunday

  • Dec. 5th, 7th, 9th, & 10th, 2023 (Monarch Pass based) COMPLETED
  • Jan. 16th, 18th, 20th, & 21st, 2024 COMPLETED

Course Details

Ability Level2

Ability Level

Participants should be intermediate to advanced skiers/riders and be comfortable on ungroomed terrain.

Requirements Certifications Prerequisites2


Participants will need to complete precourse work before the classroom and field sessions.

Monarch Pass The Famed Monarch Crest Trail Guides Ridge2

Course Description

3 day course with a mix of classroom and field time.  Learn basic avalanche rescue and how to safely plan and execute a day in the backcountry!

Requirements Certifications Prerequisites2


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).

Trip Length Routes Logistics Travel2


Irwin Guides is sponsored by Weston Backcountry, and offers Weston splitboards for rent as well as avalanche transceivers, shovels, probes, and airbag backpacks.  Students must come prepared with all their backcountry equipment.

Private Courses2

Private Courses

Private courses are available. Call our office to learn more.

Gain skills that could make the difference in an avalanche

Click Book Now to get started planning your adventure