Since 1962 the Silverton Avalanche School has educated skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, ski patrollers, search and rescue personnel, and public safety about the hazards of avalanches. Over 4,000 students have learned how to recognize avalanche hazards, determine snow stability, organize and carry out rescue operations and handle avalanche emergencies.  

Our avalanche courses offer an intensive learning environment for established riders, boarders, and skiers to further develop their backcountry skills and avalanche knowledge using the latest in Avalanche research and snow science.

We provide students with the opportunity to asses a wide variety of situations through our carefully crafted field exercises, realistic simulations and detailed scenarios that enhance the critical skills, perceptual cues, and knowledge needed to make better decisions with greater accuracy and success.  Our backyard has some of the best backcountry terrain in Colorado, with direct access to avalanche paths and varied snowpack— a natural avalanche laboratory —offering students an active and accessible classroom environment. 

Level 1

Our Level 1:Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain course provides field sessions in backcountry terrain giving each student the hands-on experience necessary to  assess and manage risk. Learn the key elements of making sound decisions while traveling in avalanche terrain.

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Pro-Rescue & Mountain Medicine Course

This course  is a mix of in depth rescue  training and  mountain medicine.  Designed for the professional rescuer and prepares students to handle simple to complex rescues and mountain medicine scenarios.

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Snowmobile Level 1

This three-day course is taught by and specially tailored for sledders and is an intensive, hands-on program meant to provide students with the skills necessary to recognize and evaluate potential avalanche terrain.

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Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Boarding

This course is designed for people new to backcountry skiing/splitboarding. Our 2 day course teaches you the basics of being in the backcountry and prepare you to take a Level 1 avalanche course by setting you up with the right skills.

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Hut-Based Level 2

Take your avalanche education to the next level with this comprehensive 4-day course based in a hut high in the beautiful San Juan mountains. Gain an advanced understanding of snowpack stability, route assessment, and decision-making in complex terrain.  An in-depth look on the latest technical and scientific aspects of avalanche study and hazard assessment.

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Snowmobile Level 2

This 4 day course is designed to improve your interpretation skills and highlight opportunities to make better choices regarding route selection and group management in avalanche terrain. Learn to manage terrain in response to changing avalanche conditions.

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SAS's Wolf Creek Courses

We are excited to be offering our AIARE  Level 1 Avalanche Program at Wolf Creek Pass, renowned for it’s abundant snowfall and avalanche terrain.  Each day students get hands-on experience and quality field time with our top-notch staff!

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Level 1 with Venture Snowboards

We are partnering with Venture Snowboards to offer an AIARE Level 1 course specifically for splitboarders only. We will have Venture splitboards to demo as well as our own rental fleet of splitboards for you to try out. There will be special emphasis on splitboard travelling techniques and how to use the gear for those new to the equipment.

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We began teaching avalanche courses over 53 years ago! Since 1962 we have taught over 4,000 students how to recognize avalanche hazards, determine snow stability, organize and carry out rescue operations and handle avalanche emergencies

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Our Instructors

All of our courses are taught by nationally recognized members of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), the Canadian Avalanche Association. We  bring in talented avalanche professionals, mountain rescue specialists, Lead Mountain Weather and Avalanche Forecasters, GIS professionals,  Snow Studies Specialists, and Snow System Monitoring Experts who have operational experience guiding, patrolling, forecasting and studying avalanche processes.  

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AIARE Curriculum

AIARE courses are developed by a nation-wide collaboration of avalanche experts and are professionally reviewed.  Silverton Avalanche School is honored to be sponsoring AIARE  Level 3 course this year. AIARE holds two Level 3 courses in the country and have chosen Silverton as one of their locations. 

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Avalanche Laboratory

Unlike many avalanche courses, Silverton Avalanche School students gain valuable experience in the vast amount of backcountry terrain rather than a ski area.  The rugged San Juan Mountains surrounding Silverton and its host of avalanche paths provide students with an active and accessible classroom and makes the ideal learning environment for Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection.

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Preferred by Professionals

Silverton Avalanche School is the Nation’s most respected Avalanche Education provider, hosting courses for avalanche practitioners, professional guides, patrollers, forecasters, control specialists, and advanced recreational backcountry travelers seeking professional training and development. Silverton is an ideal training venue, providing unprecedented access to avalanche paths well-known for its unique snowpack, complex terrain, and variable stability.

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