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Level 1 Avalanche Course: Hut Based
Why not enjoy the comforts of a high mountain hut, surrounded by the pristine wilderness of Colorado's majestic San Juan Mountains, while also completing the curriculum of our AIARE Level 1 Course? Throw in food and you've got yourself one heck of a trip! This 3 day, 2 night program covers all the material of the standard Level 1 avalanche course from the cozy confines of the Aladdin's Lamp hut, situated atop Molas Pass at almost 11,000 feet. With skiing right out the door it's tough to beat access for our field sessions and the evenings at the hut provide additional opportunities for students to cover essential course material with our instructors. This is a can't miss course that also features a smaller class size of 6 students maximum! Want to squeeze in some additional backcountry skiing and more in-depth touring and decision making skills? Then make it a Professional Level 1!
This is a comprehensive course for those new to travel in avalanche terrain. Highlights include a small class size, professional level curriculum, and skier/snowboarder oriented instruction. Participants in the Level 1 Course can expect a minimum of about 8 hours of classroom instruction and about 16 hours of field instruction in the following subjects:
- Types of avalanches
- Characteristics of avalanches
- How avalanches form and release
- Assessing avalanche terrain
- Trip planning and preparation
- Route Finding
- Decision making
- Rescue protocols and procedures
We meet at 8:00 am on the first day and spend a full day in the classroom learning terminology and general avalanche principles. The following two days are spent in the field between Coal Bank and Red Mountain Passes.
*If our scheduled courses do not fit your needs, we can also schedule private dates for groups of 4 or more.
"Your professionalism, personability, and overall excitement for the course was why I chose SWAG over a course in Ketchum ID. Great work!"
- Jody D.
Day 1: Classroom day. Meet at our office at 8:00 am to finalize course paperwork. The group will then begin the classroom portion of the class. This will serve as a complete introduction to the course. There will be a 1 hour lunch and then the group will transfer to Molas Pass and the Alladins Lamp Hut. An afternoon field session rounds out the day. Stay at hut.
Day 2: Field session, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Today we will spend the entire day in the field on Molas Pass. Topics covered will include test pit construction, beacon searching, companion rescue. Instructors will demonstrate each topic and then students will practice under observation. Stay at hut.
Day 3: Field session, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Today we will complete a tour on Red Mountain Pass. Students will be asked to make decisions with regard to route finding, and terrain management. We'll select a slope to ski and assess the stability of the slope for descent purposes.
Trip Cost Includes: AIARE Qualified Instructors and AMGA Certified/Trained Guides. Level 1 course manual and completion certificate, and AIARE Field Book. Use of avalanche probe, shovel, and beacon. Lodging fees at the Alladin's Lamp Hut, breakfasts and dinners at the hut as well as transportation to the hut. Touring boots, skis, and climbing skins are available for rent from our shop for an additional cost.
Not Included: Field lunches. Hotel costs before, during or after the courses. 3% land use surcharge, trip cancellation insurance, personal climbing, skiing, or camping equipment, or gratuities.
Prerequisites: Participants will need to have an established method of backcountry travel for field days (skis and skins, or snowshoes). These courses take place outside in winter conditions. All participants need to be prepared for physical exertion in cold and perhaps poor weather. Participants will need to have appropriate warm, winter clothing and gear.
Registration and Cancellation: You will need to fill out our Domestic Registration Form, cancellation policy agreement, and liability waiver, and send it to us with a 50% deposit. Balance is due on the first day of the course. Please click on our Registration link to access the required forms.