Winter Backcountry Skills, Part 1


Born from the same idea as our Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership Series, the Winter Comprehensive Series helps the outdoor enthusiast gain the skills for venturing out into the backcountry on their own - only this time it is based on traveling in the winter!

Below is a flowchart showing AAI's different winter course options, and how to progress from one to another as your skills, abilities, and knowledge grow.

 Winter Progression Flowchart


With the skills and tools learned in these courses, you'll be able to start venturing out into the backcountry on your own with confidence, and by then end you should have the ability to handle just about any kind of terrain.

With this in mind, we have grouped blocks of programs so that you can flow from one into the next with little-to-no interuption. 


Winter Comprehensive Part 1:

By linking together the Backcountry Ski Intro Course (or the Splitboard Intro Course), the AIARE Rec 1, and the AIARE Rescue day, you'll have all of the fundamental skills to start traveling in the backcountry and making smart decisions about moving through avalanche terrain. This is a great grouping of courses for skiers and riders who have significant in-bounds experience, but are just looking to make those first tracks beyond the ski area ropes.

Winter Comprehensive Part 2:

The next main bundling of courses combines the Winter Camping Course, the Advanced Backcountry Skiing or Advanced Splitboarding Course, and the AIARE Rec 2 Course. This combination will give skiers and riders the skills to start going out on multi-day tours, hitting bigger slopes, and dealing with more complex avalanche terrain. 

Winter Comprehensive Part 3:

The third step in our course progression has multiple options, depending on your experience level with skiing or mountaineering:

3a:  Ski Mountaineering Course - This course teaches you the fundamental skills to ski and splitboard on glaciated peaks. You'll learn how to ski roped up, rappel with your skis, build anchors with your skis, do crevasse rescue with your skis, and more. Click on the Course name above to read more about the program.

3b:  Extreme Ski Course - This course will teach you many of same skills as you would learn in the Ski Mountaineering Course, but instead of focusing on glaciated terrain, it is more centered on teaching you the skills to access and descend steep, alpine lines.

3c:  The final option is also the final segment of our Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership Course. This is a 12-day program that combines the Ski Mountaineering curriculum with techincal mountaineering skills for rock and ice for an extended multi-day winter alpine traverse. Students wishing to participate in this section will need to either have completed Parts 1 - 3 of the AMTL curriculum or have significant prior mountaineering experience. Please contact our office for more details.


Skiing steep terrain in the backcountry.

Skiing steep terrain in the backcountry.  Danny Uhlmann

Winter Backcountry Skills, Part 1

Curriculum Options

 Winter Combos - Ski


Avalanche awareness is of paramount importance in the mountains.

The linked programs follow a logical progression and each new step builds upon the skills and knowledge that was gained in earlier portions. 

By combining together several of our stand-alone courses, you can create a more comprehensive program to give you the skills that you need. If you are new to winter travel, you could combine an Intro to Backcountry Skiing Course with an AIARE Rec 1 Course and an AIARE Rescue Skills Course. Maybe you already took your Rec 1 and are looking to kick your skills up a notch and go on some longer, multi-day tours. In that case, the Winter Camping and the AIARE Rec 2 Courses might be the best match for you. You can combine the courses to make a custom program to fit your needs, whatever they may be.


Winter Backcountry Skills, Part 1

Related Courses

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