About Us
The Wolf Creek Avalanche School offers AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 courses that will increase your confidence in the backcountry. All our courses are held on Wolf Creek Pass, renowned for it's abundant snowfall. Classroom sessions are held in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Small classes ensure individualized instruction. Level 1 student to instructor ratio is often 4:1 and Level 2 is often 2:1. Also, BCA Tracker 2 transceivers, shovels, and probes available for loan!

Questions? Email us here or call us at 970-731-2486.

2016/17 Courses
Course Dates Cost
Level 1 12/27 - 29 $350
Level 1 1/20 -1/22 $350
We have partnered with the Silverton Avalanche School, and registration for our courses is through their website. Look for the Wolf Creek location!

Click HERE to Register

Sandy guides a student through performing a Rutschblock Test.
AIARE Level 1


This 3-day course is intended for the introductory student, as a refresher for more experienced backcountry travelers, and for the recreational backcountry leader. The sole prerequisite is the equipment and physical condition to travel in the backcountry on two 3-mile long day tours.

Wolf Creek Pass provides quick, easy, and safe access to large and small avalanche paths. You can observe avalanche terrain from safe locations, creating a perfect environment to learn about avalanches and where they occur. Feeling relaxed and safe allows you to truly absorb your Level 1 experience.

You will learn to recognize avalanche terrain, make "key" observations, understand & use the Avalanche Bulletin to choose terrain, apply route finding & travel techniques, mitigate your 'human' factor, and perform Companion Rescue skills.

Field practice is 15 hours (min) of this 24-hour course, so enjoy a hot springs soak on us!

Sandy guides a student through performing a Rutschblock Test.
Women's AIARE Level 1


Do YOU want to have an informed opinion when you are out in the backcountry with your friends or significant other? Come learn the tools to make better decisions in avalanche terrain.

This 3-day course is the same AIARE Level 1 curriculum, but is girls only! It is taught by two qualified women who have been avalanche professionals and educators for many years. We will utilize the beautiful terrain and interesting snowpack on Wolf Creek Pass as our classroom.

This course will emphasize travel techniques, recognizing avalanche terrain, understanding the avalanche forecast and good communication. We will introduce and practice proper avalanche rescue technique. This is a great way to meet other who want to go in the backcountry and learn in a friendly environment!

Field practice is 15 hours (min) of this 24-hour course, so enjoy a hot springs soak on us!
AIARE Level 2


Wolf Creek Avalanche School's AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course is a professional level avalanche hazard and snow stability evaluation course. It picks up where the Level 1 Course leaves off by introducing you to snow metamorphism, professional level snow pit techniques and weather, snowpack and avalanche observation and recording guidelines. The course is 40 hours of classroom and field instruction administered over 4 days, and begins AIARE's professional level avalanche course stream of the Level 2 and Level 3.

Students gain an understanding of:

  • Snow metamorphism
  • The various types of weak layers and the environmental conditions that influence their development.
  • Slab avalanche initiation and propagation mechanics.
  • Standardized tests to identify instabilities in the snowpack.
  • Formal processes for avalanche hazard evaluation and stability assessments.
Students are required to perform, with little review, skills acquired in their previous Level 1 Course. These include trip planning, group evaluation, terrain selection, hazard recognition, route finding, and companion rescue. These skills are expanded upon with the introduction of basic weather forecasting, advanced companion rescue, and in-depth tour planning.

Involves a minimum of 20 hours of field work,
so enjoy a hot springs soak on us!

Prerequisite: Successful completion of AIARE Level 1 course.

The Level 2 course takes an in-depth look at the many forms of snow.
Not all weak layers are this easy to identify!
Wolf Creek Pass provides the perfect classroom to study the avalanche phenomenon, and the WCAS staff know the terrain inside and out!
Wolf Creek Pass
Our course area of Wolf Creek Pass is known for "the most snow in Colorado" with 300-400" a year. We liken it to Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Our temperatures are similar to Utah, as well - warmer than Summit County, yet cold enough to create and hold our great Wolf Creek powder.

On each of our field days we travel three miles in the backcountry at 11,000'. A moderate level of fitness helps you to enjoy your course. The terrain is gentle and suitable for intermediate skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers. The ability to travel uphill over snow is required ~ skins and uphill bindings, or snowshoes.

Please read AIARE's required and optional gear list.

AIARE Level 3
Advanced Avalanche Training for Professionals and Recreational Leaders


The Level 3 course is an advanced certification course for experienced and professional avalanche practitioners, professional guides, patrollers and advanced recreational backcountry travelers. The course is 7 days long and completes the avalanche course stream of the Level 2 and 3. Individuals who receive a passing grade and successfully complete the course receive a certificate provided by the AIARE administration.

Visit the AIARE website at avtraining.org for schedule and pricing for the Level 3 course.

Customized Courses
Need a Individualized Course?


Let us work with you to design a course that fits your needs.

We offer customized courses just for your group of backcountry skiers. Perhaps your group members took a Level 1 or Level 2 in the past, and need a tune-up or refresher. Or you have specific communication or 'unhelpful habits' formed in the past that keep your group from easily making good decisions. Or you want a private learning opportunity for your group of friends who are ready to make the leap from in-bounds skiers to out-of-bounds skiers. This unique opportunity may be just what you are looking for.

Send us an email or give us a call if you are interested in this specialized approach.

Level 1 Refresher
    Brush up your Level 1 skills!


If you have taken a Level 1 course in the past, consider attending our L1 Refresher Course.

This one day field session revisits key aspects of the AIARE Level 1, and brings you up to speed on recent changes. We review from snow processes, travel planning and field book use, to route selection, stability assessment, recording field observations, travel protocols, and use of decision making tools.

During rescue scenarios you will refresh on emergency procedures, and learn about new developments in rescue methodology and beacon technology.

It is intended for Backcountry travelers with rusty or outdated avalanche skills, and for students prepairing to take a Level 2 course.