(hybrid self-paced online learning & field practice)




March 6 & 7, 2023


Join a unique, hybrid Avalanche Level 1 with IRIS guides! This course includes self-paced online learning and two days in the backcountry near Ouray, CO.

Come develop the skills to travel outside the gates!


Over two field days we will help you develop a solid foundation of the skills necessary to prepare for a fun day in the backcountry. We will learn to interpret an avalanche center forecast, plan where and how to go backcountry skiing, and practice utilizing our avalanche rescue equipment.


This may come off as a bit bombastic, but believe us when we confidently state that your instructors will be cooler humans, nicer people, more fun riders, more experienced forecasters, and better educators than any other instructor team in the game. They will make the content digestible and get you some good turns!


**Eight hours of self-paced, online learning will need to be completed prior to the course start date. You will have lifetime access to this course!**

**This itinerary is subject to change. 


Eight hours of self-paced e-learning will need to be completed pre course.


March 5:

5-6pm: Zoom Meet and Greet and Curriculum Review


March 6:

8:00am: Meet @ Ouray Inn
8:15am:  Depart for RMP
8:45am-3:00pm: Ironton or Red Mountain Pass Instruction & Touring
3:15pm:  Return to Ouray


March 7:

8:00am: Meet @ Ouray Inn
8:15am:  Depart for RMP
8:45am-3:00pm: Red Mountain Pass Instruction & Touring
3:15pm:  Return to Ouray
4:00pm: Trip Wrap-Up / Happy Hour and Hang Out


2 Days of Guided Skiing and Field Practice on Red Mountain Pass

Write in the Rain Field Book

8 Hours of Online Avalanche Education

Beacon, Shovel & Probe (encouraged to have your own)

4:1 Guest to Guide Ratio

minimum of 2; maximum of 8


Not Included:

Meals and Personal Snacks


Transportation to/from/while in Ouray

Personal Skiing Clothing

Personal touring equipment: skis, boots, binding, skins, poles (Available to rent at Ridgway Adventure Sports. They DO NOT rent snowboard boots.)

Guide Gratuity

Travel Insurance (highly recommended!)

Incurred costs by leaving a trip early

Incurred costs as a result force majeure



Participants must be solid resort skiers and able to link turns in a variety of snow conditions. Limited backcountry skiing experience is okay.


Travel Recommendations:

Closest Airports: Montrose (MTJ) & Grand Junction (GJT)


Hotel Recommendation: 

Ouray Inn

(970) 325-4445

West, 120 6th Ave. Ouray, CO 81427

IRIS guests receive a 10% discount at the Ouray Inn. After IRIS registration, guests will receive a booking code to utilize on the Ouray Inn website or while booking over the phone. A to-go breakfast will be provided if you alert the Ouray Inn a week in advance of your program start date.

**This list is a guideline. You do not need the exact layers but will need something of similar warmth. If you have questions please ask us.**


Lightweight Baselayer Top (polyester, wool or silk top)
Mid-Weight Top (lightweight fleece or lightweight puffy jacket)
Lightweight Wind Shirt (or very lightweight soft-shell jacket)
Waterproof Shell Jacket (Gore Tex, Pertex or similar, not insulated)
Big Puffy Coat (down or synthetic jacket to fit on top of all other layers)
Lightweight Base Layer Bottom (polyester, wool or silk long underwear bottom)
Ski Pants (non-insulated hard shell or soft shell pants).
Gloves (at least 2 pairs: a pair of heavy, waterproof, warm gloves and a pair of lighter gloves. If your hands get cold easily, bring extra gloves, mittens and/or handwarmers)
Hats (one sun hat, one warm cap)
Buff or Neck Gaiter
Socks (wool/synthetic ski socks)



*Touring Skis or Splitboard (make sure it is tuned/freshly waxed)
*Alpine Touring Ski Boots or Snowboard Boots (check that the boot works with your ski binding)
*Ski Poles (adjustable poles with powder baskets)
*Climbing Skins (they must be cut to fit your skis)
Big Day-Tour Backpack or Airbag Pack (at least 30+ liters capacity)
Ski Helmet (recommended, optional)
BCA Link Radio (optional)
**Avalanche Transceiver (must be a 3-Antenna Transceiver with fresh batteries)
Your Beacon’s User Manual (hard copy or PDF saved to your phone)
**Avalanche Probe (must be at least 240cm long)
**Avalanche Rescue Shovel (must have a metal blade)
Water Bottle(s) (either 1 Nalgene, or 1 Nalgene and 1 small Thermos. No Camelbacks).
Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Headlamp (fresh batteries)
Lunch Food & Snacks (about 1lb/day: sandwich, Twinkies, jerky, cheese, trail mix, candy bars, nuts, salami)



Snow Saw (optional)
Inclinometer (BCA iPhone/Android app)
USGS Map of the Red Mountain Pass Area (“Ironton” Quadrangle (you can purchase one at Ouray Mountain Sports, or print one from www.caltopo.com))


*Indicates items available to rent through Ridgway Adventure Sports in Ridgway, CO: (970) 626-8500. Please reserve your setup a month before your trip start date. They do not carry snowboard boots.*
**Beacon/Shovel/Probe rentals are included in course fees.**


Kristin Arnold guide and climber

IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AMGA Alpine Guide
AMGA Rock Guide

Sheldon Kerr climber

IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AMGA Alpine Guide
AMGA Rock Guide