Join Chicks all-women’s AIARE Recreational Level 1 course to learn the key elements of making sound decisions while traveling in avalanche terrain from some the most experienced women guides and instructors in the industry.

This 3-day Silverton based course effectively combines classroom time and field sessions to provide a comprehensive overview of avalanche hazard recognition and evaluation. This course is a nationally recognized Avalanche Level 1 Course.

We know that women excel at learning in a supportive, fun atmosphere where they can ask questions, have a voice and engage with other women who are passionate about the outdoors. Fun always plays a huge part in all of our programs and it’s a fact that we learn more when we’re enjoying ourselves.

This intensive, hands-on training will cover trip planning and preparation, interpretation of the avalanche bulletin, observational techniques for snowpack, weather, and avalanches, terrain analysis, safe travel techniques, and decision-making fundamentals. Students will also learn the elements of companion avalanche rescue and practice using realistic scenarios. It is geared toward skiers, boarders, and other outdoor enthusiasts who want to build winter backcountry skills. SIGN UP HERE!! 


Morning sessions introduce avalanche concepts to students. Afternoon field sessions in backcountry terrain provide hands-on experience and ensure quality field time with our top-notch staff. Each day students travel into backcountry ski terrain in small groups with their instructors.

These experiential sessions examine topics discussed in the classroom. All students will be able to practice route finding and terrain analysis, dig snowpits, and conduct stability tests. Unlike many avalanche courses, Silverton Avalanche School students gain practical training in the wild backcountry rather than a ski area. The redesigned Recreational Level 1 will include more field on route planning, terrain management, and hazard evaluation time, as 4-6 hours of field time in the past were needed to cover companion rescue.

Students receive valuable input, instant feedback, and vital insight from our instructors who are responsible for mitigating avalanche hazard in Class A avalanche terrain filled with one of the most dangerous snowpacks on earth, where avalanche hazard assessment and reduction is an everyday job. Instructors will help students acquire and enhance the critical skills, perceptual cues, and knowledge needed to make better decisions with greater accuracy and success.

Level 1 is for anyone who wants to recreate in or near avalanche terrain. Participants may have attended some awareness classes or workshops or completed the Avalanche Rescue course, but none are a prerequisite for this course.  Aspiring professionals will need to take this Level 1 and Avalanche Rescue as a prerequisite for the Pro 1 course.  This course is for women only. 



Day 1: 

  • Meet at the Silverton Avalanche School HQ in Silverton, CO.
  • Course Introduction and Equipment Check for Hut Trip
  • Introduction to Decision Making
  • Avalanche Fundamentals
  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Travel to RMP and 30-minute Skin to St Paul Lodge
  • Companion Rescue and Scenarios
  • Teamwork and Avoiding Human Factors
  • Day 2:
  • Making Weather and Avalanche Observations
  • Practicing companion rescue
  • Field Observational Techniques
  • Snowpit Documentation and Snowpack Testing
  • Transceiver, Probing and Shoveling lessons
  • Decision Making: Choosing Terrain and Traveling Wisely

Day 3: 

Pre-trip Hazard Forecast

  • Effective Tour Planning 
  • Route Finding & Terrain Analysis 
  • Group Management 
  • Implementing the Decision Making Framework
  • Course Wrap Up, Evaluation, Q & A, Instructor Feedback
  • Return to Red Mountain Pass for Course End


  • Improved Avalanche Judgement and Decision-making Skills
  • Expanded Situational Awareness and Perceptual Capacities
  • Human influence in group dynamics
  • Applying the Current Avalanche Bulletin to Tour Planning
  • Develop a trip plan based on snowpack and weather
  • Make and record field observations


  • Tour Preparation
  • Analyzing avalanche forecasts
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Recognizing hazardous conditions
  • Snowpack Development
  • Snowpack Instabilities
  • Route Finding and Travel Techniques
  • Using Observations and Tests
  • Human Factors
  • Educated Decision-Making
  • Mountain Weather
  • Safe Travel Protocols
  • Snow Pit Profiles
  • Group Management
  • Snow layer analysis
  • Risk evaluation


Course is 3 days. Runs 8:00am-5:00pm daily

Dates Offered: January 10-12, 2020

Location: Silverton, CO  | 

Cancellation Policy:

A $35.00 fee is charged for course date transfers. 60% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start. No refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. Unfortunately we cannot give refunds, rainchecks or cancellations if mountain passes are closed.


What to Bring
Travel Logistics


Cost: $465

Cost Includes:

  • Chicks IFMGA/AMGA Ski Guide and Silverton Avalanche School Instructor
  • Avalanche Rescue Equipment – Transceiver, Probe, Shovel
  • Chicks Sponsor Welcome Bag
  • Level 1 Certificate upon completion

Not Included: 

  • AT, Tele, Splitboard, and Skins*
  • Transportation to and from Red Mountain Pass
  • Lunches and Snacks
  • Personal protective outerwear, Warm clothing
  • Personal or Trip Insurance

Interested In Attending?