Family Programs

Snow Science and Avalanche Rescue Training

Are you looking to improve your snow safety and avalanche rescue skills? The Nature Connection has you covered! We are partnering with Irwin Guides and the USFS to offer an AIARE Avalanche I course right here in Delta County! Limited spaces available. This is a 3 day course from January 5-7, 2022.

Questions: Please contact Ben Graves

To register, please call. Irwin Guides.  970-349-5430.  Reference “The Nature Connection Avalanche Course January 5-7”

Full details:

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is a 3-day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazards. With a mix of both classroom and field time, the focus of the course is to learn how to recognize hazards, how to manage and minimize them and finally how to respond in case of an emergency.


Students will come away from the course having learned:

  •  How to prepare and plan for a backcountry tour
  •  How to analyze an avalanche forecast
  •  How to identify avalanche terrain & avalanche types
  •  How to recognize hazardous conditions
  •  Basic snowpack understanding
  •  Route selection and terrain features
  •  Snowpack tests and interpretation
  •  Educated decision making
  •  Basic rescue techniques
  •  Group management




  • Wednesday January 5th – Classroom Day 8:30am – 4:30pm, Hotchkiss
  • Thursday January 6th – Field Day 8:30am – 4:30pm, Meet at trailhead Gunnison National Forest
  • Friday January 7th – Field Day 8:30am – 4:30pm, Meet at trailhead Gunnison National Forest

There will be approximately 2-hours of pre-course work and about an hour each morning or night before and/or after class.


  • A professional, certified backcountry ski guide/AIARE certified course leader
  • AIARE Level 1 Course Manual, AIARE Field Book, AIARE Level 1 certificate upon successful completion of course.


  • Lodging, food, avalanche safety gear, backcountry touring gear.

Cost:  $600 per person