A list of backcountry and avalanche courses available for the upcoming ski season

It’s official: Winter is here!

While many skiers and snowboarders will flock to resorts, others will look outside of ski area boundaries to get their turns in. If you’re looking to hit the backcountry this season, it’s important to have a good grasp on the dangers of traveling along backcountry terrain. Signing up for an avalanche course or other backcountry session is a great way to better understand how to safely navigate the backcountry.

A couple of free online services are available from Know Before You Go and Silverton Avalanche School. These are both excellent resources, and should be a part of your backcountry knowledge artillery. However, the best way to learn is to get out on the snow or talk to experts that will be able to provide you with hands on learning and experience. Even if you’ve taken an on snow session in the past, or have your Avy I certification already, getting an early season refresher never hurts — especially when your safety and the safety of those around you is at stake. Here’s a list of guides with upcoming classes that will help get you ready to hit the backcountry.

Bluebird Backcountry; Kremmling
  • Backcountry Education
  • AIARE Avalanche Rescue
  • AIARE Rec I — offers women-specific and splitboard-specific courses
  • AIARE Rec II
Colorado Adventure Guides; Breckenridge
  • AIARE Avalanche Rescue
  • AIARE Level I — offers hut-based trips and splitboard-specific courses
  • AIARE Level II — offers hut-based and camping-based trips
Colorado Mountain School; Golden
  • Avalanche Awareness Online
  • AIARE Level I
  • AIARE Level II
  • Avalanche Rescue
Friends of the San Juans; Durango
  • On Snow Sessions (Free)
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center; Salida
  • AIARE Avalanche Rescue
  • AIARE Level I
San Juan Expeditions; Durango & Silverton
  • AIARE Avalanche Rescue
  • AIARE Level I — offers women-specific and hut-based courses
  • AIARE Level II
San Juan Mountain Guides; Ouray
  • Avalanche Rescue
  • Avalanche Rec Level I
  • Level I Advanced Avalanche Course
  • Avalanche Rec Level II
  • Private Avalanche Education Course
Silverton Avalanche School; Silverton
  • Backcountry Foundations
  • Avalanche Rescue
  • Avalanche Rec Level I
  • Level I Advanced Avalanche Course
  • Avalanche Rec Level II
  • Private Avalanche Education Course
avalanche courses storm san juan mountains
Having the proper knowledge and tools while navigating the backcountry could save your life.Tiona Eversole