E:K Education



Kirkwood is a Class A avalanche area, making it the perfect classroom for our avalanche & backcountry education programs. Expedition: Kirkwood has become one of the West Coast’s largest avalanche education providers, teaching the most current versions of the nationally recognized curriculum from the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Our AIARE trained instructors have over 25 years teaching experience and our avalanche programs, using AIARE teachimg methods, are completely student centered. The prime goals of these courses are to increase public awareness and save lives through avalanche education.

These courses aim to provide:

  • A better understanding of the avalanche phenomena
  • The knowledge to make more informed decisions at home and in the field
  • The tools to successfully plan and prep for travel in avalanche terrain, and to carry out a basic rescue

No course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after completion, but the education & knowledge provided by these specialized courses are essential tools for any backcountry adventurer.

Avalanche Certification

These specialized courses are essential tools for any backcountry adventurer. Expedition:Kirkwood offers AIARE Level 1, an AIARE Refresher, Backcountry Awareness and Intro to Backcountry Courses throughout the winter. Sessions do fill up, so reserve your spot early.

AIARE Level 1

A three day introduction course to the avalanche phenomena. Students will develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, understand basic decision making while in the field,

AIARE - American Institute for Avalanche Research and Educationand learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person. View the course description, equipment list and additional resources.

Contact Expedition: Kirkwood to book your AIARE Level 1 Course today. If the below dates don't fit your needs, please contact us about setting up your own custom AIARE Level 1 Course (min 8 people for custom course).

Dates: 12/18-12/20, 1/12-1/14, 1/16-1/18, 1/29-1/31, 2/9-2/11, 2/19-2/21, 2/26-2/28, 3/1-3/3, 3/11-3/13, 3/25-3/27, 4/8-4/10

Cost: $325

AIARE Cancellation Policy

  • Outside of 5 days – no charge
  • Within 5 days – 50% charge
  • Day of/no show – full charge
  • Road closure - no charge

NEW* AIARE Refresher Course

Feeling a bit rusty on some of the skills acquired during your Level 1 avalanche course?  Our AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Refresher Course provides an opportunity for past AIARE Level 1 course participants to review their skills and to be exposed to new information and techniques that may have been introduced since completion of your last avalanche course.

We begin with an brief indoor review of the basics before heading into the field applying many of the skills covered during the field portion of your Level 1 Avalanche Course and reviewing the companion rescue. While the basic structure of each Avalanche Refresher Course is the same, we use a portion of the day to cover new technology, methodology or techniques to provide participants with an update of their avalanche education.

Contact Expedition: Kirkwood to book your AIARE Refresher Course today!

Dates:  12/13, 12/27, 2/7

Time:  8am-4pm

Cost:  $115

Backcountry Awareness Clinics

Backcountry Awareness Clinics

Our Backcountry Awareness Course is a great introduction to avalanche awareness and will create a solid foundation upon which to build skills for the AIARE Level 1 Course. Learn the basic skills needed to venture safely inside resort boundaries or into basic lift accessed backcountry terrain in this four hour course. Course covers avalanche awareness and avoidance, equipment usage, snow observations and intro to the companion rescue. Clinics are led by Expedition Guides and are limited to 8-10 participants. Strong intermediate through upper skill level needed.

Clinics start promptly at 9am with 2 hour of classroom time and 2 hours of field time. Advance reservations are highly recommended; minimum of 4 participants, maximum of 12 participants.

Dates:  1/9, 1/23, 2/13, 3/26

Time:  9am-1pm

Cost:  $75, combo with a Sunday Intro to Backcountry for $250

Contact Expedition: Kirkwood to book your Beacon Training Clinic today. If the dates above don't fit you or your needs, contact us about setting up your own personal Beacon Training Clinic.

Intro to Backcountry

Learn and apply basic touring skills to start your backcountry skiing/riding off on the right route.  Our 1 Day Introduction to Backcountry is an excellent way for you gain experience on your skis or splitboard.

Many resort skiers are either intimidated by backcountry touring or don’t feel they possess the necessary skills to undertake a backcountry ski tour in the mountains. This course will give you a basic understanding of the equipment need for a successful tour, how to use it as well as route finding and safety travel protocol introductions.  Pair this course with our 4 hr. BCA course on Saturday to build a solid backcountry foundation.  These are excellent precursors to our AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course and will give you a head start in your backcountry education.

Contact Expedition: Kirkwood to book your Intro to  Backcountry Course today

Dates:  1/10, 1/24, 2/14, 3/27

Time: 9am-3pm

Costs: $185 combo with Saturday BCA for $250