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Before and After the AIARE 1: The Backcountry Series

Written by Isaac Laredo

Friends don’t let friends teach each other how to backcountry ski because it’s an environment that can be unforgiving to the school of Knox style. We believe formal education is essential to build a responsible and safer backcountry community. One of our AMGA-trained guides is eager to teach you the necessary skills to prepare, plan, and execute a backcountry tour. These skills are taught in our Backcountry Series Courses and will set you up for memorable days in the backcountry while managing risk.

The Backcountry Series includes 3 courses Backcountry 1.0, Backcountry 2.0, and Backcountry 3.0. The course structure allows new and experienced riders to further their education and skills in a backcountry setting.  If it’s your first time in the backcountry then Backcountry 1.0 is best for you. If you’re looking to safely approach steep lines that require crampons and an ice axe then check out the Backcountry 3.0 course.


Backcountry 1.0:

Backcountry 1.0 is a one-day course that will introduce the fundamentals of backcountry travel. In this course, you will learn the skills necessary to plan and efficiently execute simple backcountry tours.

Students will be introduced to touring equipment options, clothing layering and techniques, use of beacon, probe, and shovel, how to read the avalanche bulletin, uphill travel techniques, and Downhill travel techniques, and group management.

This course is for newer backcountry skiers and riders looking to improve their confidence,  efficiency, and knowledge. It is the best way to prepare for an upcoming AIARE 1 Course.

Next steps: AIARE 1, AIARE Rescue, Backcountry 2.0, and, Private Ski Guiding.


Backcountry 2.0:

The Backcountry 2.0 course is the perfect way to reinforce your current backcountry foundation and build on top of it. Naturally, it picks up where the Backcountry 1.0 left off. You will learn ways to make decisions in groups, recognize avalanche hazards, and use terrain to reduce your risk.

In this course, you will be introduced to leadership skills, planning strategies, terrain management techniques, movement techniques, and track setting.

This course is for intermediate backcountry users who have had basic training to go on simple tours and looking to expand their skillset. To ensure this course can meet its objectives, participants are required to have taken the Backcountry 1.0 or have 5-10 touring days.

Next steps: Backcountry 3.0, Private Ski Guiding, and AIARE Rescue


Backcountry 3.0:

The final course in our Backcountry Series is designed to introduce you to

Ski Mountaineering principles and best practices. It can be a stand-alone option or an epic culmination of your Backcountry 1.0 and 2.0 education. In this course, you’ll learn advanced backcountry skills like how to safely approach steep lines and adding tools like ice axe, crampons, and harnesses to your touring kit. Students will be introduced and coached on steep skiing techniques, basic snow climbing, basic rope techniques for steep snow and glacial travel, and the use of ice axe, crampons, and ski crampons.

This course is for advanced-level riders that want the skills to consider steeper, more complex lines that require a broader toolbox of skills and gear. Participants must have completed a Backcountry 1.0, and 2.0 in addition to 5-10 touring days or have completed more than 25 touring days.

Next Steps: High Sierra Backcountry Tours, AIARE 2, Truckee Skyline Traverse>


Enroll in the Backcountry Series

The backcountry series has something for everyone.  Our goal is to provide you with the education you deserve in order to progress into your next chapter of backcountry adventures.

For more information on any of our other courses or backcountry ski guiding, check out our website or call our office at 877-873-5376. We look forward to skiing and riding with you and educating our community this winter.