$399 Each


Relevant Content, Effective Learning

The industry standard Avalanche Level 1 is generally comprised of three elements: Backcountry Travel, Snow Science, and Avalanche Rescue.  The Avalanche Level 1 Experiential course by Apex Ex provides unparalleled value by affording more time in the field.  More time practicing the essentials in the real life environment equates to better mastery of life saving skills. You will be engaged in hands on learning that will cover all three elements and allow you to practice the skills gained. Studying this material prior to the course allows us to maximize time in the field. The information is provided through our online course and is included in the course price.

There are no signs with colorful shapes to indicate the direction to the mid-mountain lodge out here or lifts to bring you back to the front country when you descend off the wrong side of the mountain.  We help you learn the essentials of navigating and traveling the winter backcountry.

  • Trip Planning: Review current and winter snowpack conditions; evaluate terrain, travel options and emergency response

  • Observations: Recent avalanche activity, snowpack, weather, identifying regional and local trends

  • Teamwork: Discuss group goals, experience and ability levels, sharing responsibility and consensus

  • Choosing Terrain: Identify options and evaluating consequences

With critical observation of slope, aspect and configuration you learn the principles and types of avalanches, and effects of snowpack. You learn to individually assess avalanche terrain, destructive and relative path, hazards, triggers and run out zones.

  • Avalanche properties:  Slope angle, snowpack, triggers

  • Types of and effects on snow: Surface hoar, faceting, depth hoar, rounding, near surface facets.  Solar, wind, rain and temperature.

  • Types of avalanches: Loose snow, dry, wet, and hard slabs, wind, storm, persistent and deep cornices

  • Snow pit analysis:  Layer identification, hand hardness, compression test, propagation test, Interpreting snowpack observation

Avalanche or companion rescue is last resort and worst case scenario, not a preventive measure. In this course you will learn, and more importantly, practice how to effectively use beacon, shovel, and probe.Successful rescues require you to be prepared.

  • Emergency response: Effective plans for searching as an individual or team.  Safety assessment, terrain and rescue plans. Response time requirements, search patterns and techniques

  • Beacon rescue: Extensive time is spent understanding the range, technique and timing of beacon tracking

  • Shovel and probe: How to effectively work as a team, probing strategies, shovel technique

The Avalanche 1 Ex package is comprised of 2 single day courses and the online Avi 1 ex Prep .  After learning through online videos and interactive multi-media, you can join the Avalanche Rescue and Snow Travel Course.  Each trip focuses on essential  technical skills  for backcountry snow travel.    If you are interested in backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, these courses are a first step towards having fun and staying safe in Colorado's winter wonderland.

 Avi 1 ex Skills

  • Pre Trip Planning

  • Equipment Requirements

  • Probe, Beacon & Shovel Use

  • Natural Hazards Overview

  • Common Avalanche Triggers

  • Red Flag Theory (Identify no go situations)

  •  Snow Sciences

  • Winter Backcountry Judgment Development

  • Terrain Assessment

  • Winter Navigation & Route Finding

Snowshoeing is harder than hiking, but if you are a hiker then you are ready to snowshoe with us on this trip.  We will take many breaks throughout the day for educational and recreational activities.  If you are a strong skier or snowboarder you will particularly enjoy these trips and are welcome to travel by Splitboard, Tele or AT setups.  Active and healthy participants will enjoy all of these trips.  The hiking is challenging but there will be many breaks.  Backcountry snow travel during the final trip will be moderate for teams that choose less elevation gain in their route but incredibly cardio intensive for a team that chooses to attempt a summit.

This trip is gear intensive.  You should dress to spend long periods of times in very cold (below freezing) temperatures.  It is much colder up in the park than in Denver.  A winter hat, gloves, warm layers, ski jacket, ski pants, face mask are required....If you are on a Spring course this all might be needed or completely overboard.  Bring the gear and you can store it in the car if needed.  You will also need either Snowshoes, Tele/AT Skis or a Snowboard.  Which ever method you choose to travel we recommend you bring poles (telescoping if traveling by board.)  You will also need the standard avalanche rescue equipment including a beacon, probe and shovel.

Snowshoes, poles, beacons probes and shovels are available for rent but supply is limited. 


  • What: Online content and 2 consecutive experiential field days

  • Duration: 8 hours of course and activity material 2 full days in RMNP

  • Location: Online and RMNP

  • Includes: Video tutorials, links to resources,  course manual, guided backcountry travel

  • Availability: Weekends: January - March

  • Difficulty: This course is designed as an introduction to Avalanche awareness. The online portion requires self-direction and strong reading comprehension. The field days require the ability to be comfortable outside for 6 hours at a time, as well as the ability to travel up to 5 miles

  • Addons: Beacon/shovel/probe $40, Saturday night accommodation in Estes Park $100 per person.

Group trips available only on weekends, private trips can be booked anytime.

Book Now