Southwest Adventure Guides
Southwest Adventure Guides

  About Us Trips Courses Expeditions Resources Gallery Reservations
Facebook Blog  
AIARE Avalanche Courses
Overview | Level 1 Course | Level 2 Course | Level 1 Hut Based | Level 1 Powder Plus+ | Level 1 Refresh
Click here to upgrade your Flash Player.

AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Powder Plus+

Hut Based Level 1 Avalanche Course w/ Additional Backcountry Skills Day
We have designed our 4 day AIARE Level 1 Powder Plus+ for the recreational backcountry enthusiast, or prospective ski guide, who would like to gain all the knowledge and experience from our standard Level 1 Course but also wants to gain additional ski touring experience in the backcountry. This course is ideal for those who do not see themselves enrolling in a Level 2 Course in the near future and want to solidify their backcountry skiing and group leadership skills.

We view this course as the perfect combination of our Backcountry Skiing Course with an AIARE Level 1. This course is also the perfect precursor to our Ski Mountaineering Courses or programs in Alaska or Europe. In addtition to the standard elements of our AIARE Level 1, this course will also cover additional backcountry skiing techniques including:

  • Trip and Tour planning
  • Route-finding and planning
  • GPS and whiteout navigation techniques
  • Team travel protocol
  • Essential Backcountry Equipment
  • Ascension Techniques and Uphill Track Setting
  • Powder snow skiing techniques
  • Rescue and evacuation considerations

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.

Alladins Lamp
*For 2012 all of our AIARE Level 1 Powder Plus+ courses will be run at the Alladin's Lamp Hut which is situated near the top of Molas Pass in the the San Juan Mountains! The course fee includes 3 nights of lodging and breakfasts/dinners at the hut. The hut is stocked with a full kitchen, running water, a shower, wood stove, and electricity.

We offer a lower client-to-guide ratio on this course (3:1) to facilitate more individual attention and learning opportunties for course participants.

*If our scheduled courses do not fit your needs, we can also schedule private dates for groups of 4 or more.

"I especially enjoyed the small class size in the classroom, and in the field. The instructor, Aaron Ball, was very personable, thorough, and professional. I am planning on continuing on with the Level 2 course this coming winter, and strongly recommend the Level 1 course and SWAG to my friends and clients, who pursue and are planning on pursing activities in avalanche country. "

- Joe S.

Sample Itinerary

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 drive up to the hut and complete the day's classes. 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 - 3:00 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. After the field session we will return to the classroom for an evening tour planning session. Stay at hut.

Day 4: Field Session, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. Today we will complete another full tour in the Silverton/Red Miuntain Pass area. Students will be asked to take turns leading the group, setting the uphilll track, and managing the ski descent. We'll finish with a mock rescue utilizing backcountry gear.

Additional Information

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. Transportation to and from the mountains from Durango. Touring boots, skis, and climbing skins are available for rent from our shop for an additional cost.

Not Included: 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.

2011/2012 Schedule & Costs

December 28 - 31

January 20 - 23
February 3 - 6
February 23 - 26
March 9 - 12

*Private dates available upon request

Duration: 4 days
Location: San Juan Mountains, Durango, CO

Hut Based: $695 pp
(includes food & lodging)

Client-to-Guide Ratio: 3:1
Capacity: 6 students 2 instructors
Trip Difficulty: Trip Difficulty
RegisterInfo Request




  Go Higher