Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Chaffee County adventure outfitter’s Intro to Backcountry / AIARE Prep course sets outdoor winter enthusiasts up for safety and further avalanche safety training

The backcountry of Colorado is awe-inspiring and it can be a great place to enjoy solitude and fresh lines. But having a basic skill set is essential before heading out alone, and it isn’t necessarily wise to go it alone during avalanche season

Now in its fifth season as a powder provider, RMOC (Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center) continues to offer a suite of in-demand AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) courses, including Intro to Backcountry / AIARE Prep. The course serves as an excellent prep course for AIARE Level 1.

Wintertime, and the view of an avalanche on Cottonwood Pass. Ark Valley Voice File photo

“It’s safe to say that the backcountry community, myself included, is obsessed with avalanche education,” says guide and RMOC business partner Ryan Coulter. “Intro to Backcountry is a great way to cover the basics to get the most out of an AIARE Rec course.”

Through their Backcountry and AIARE courses, RMOC teaches the basics on both ski and splitboard options so that participants can start to earn their turns.

The Intro to Backcountry / AIARE Prep course teaches what it takes to begin venturing into the backcountry, including the basics about avalanche hazards, weather observations, and trip planning.

Before heading out to the trail for a basic tour through the woods, participants will undergo an overview of all equipment, including beacon, shovel, and probe.

RMOC runs three group classes for Intro to Backcountry / AIARE Prep in 2024: on January 20, February 3, and March 2. Private instruction is available any day from January 15 through April 30.

Participants must be competent skiers or riders on blue terrain and at least 14 years of age. The course takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and includes all equipment except boots and personal clothing. Lunch is not included.

The organization runs more advanced courses as well, including; Backcountry Terrain Selection, AIARE Level 1, Route Finding and Mapping, Pow Surfing, Splitboard Techniques, AIARE Avalanche Rescue, and AIARE Level 2.

For more information, go to