Colorado Mountain School Reviews
Our 3 boys 6,8,&10 did the 1/2 day climb. They loved it! Our guide was great. He not only showed his knowledge but patience and skill. Highly recommend! more »
My 7 year old son and I did the half day fun climb with guide Jason. This was my son's first outdoor climbing experience. Jason was absolutely fantastic. He set up a bunch of top rope routes that were... more »
I took the three day AIARE 1 course and felt like I gained a lot of information. The instructors are all well qualified (i.e., they all have the proper certifications). They are also patient and good at teaching. Staying at the hostel also added to the experience - I felt like I got to know the other people taking course because we spent so much time together.
Although the AIARE Level 1 avalanche course is advertised as accepting SNOWSHOERS, you will not get the same instructional level as that of a backcountry skier. My March 2019 CMS AIARE Level 1 class catered to the backcountry skier. The focus was on making decisions for a safe backcountry ski route. If you are a snowshoer, as I am, you will find that the focus is not on making the same safe decisions for a safe choice of route for snowshoers. At the conclusion of this class, many of the backcountry skiers are able to select a safe route of ski travel, and almost none (if not all) of the snowshoers are able to do that. The classroom instruction is excellent, and you will absolutely gain classroom knowledge. It is a good Level 1 instruction for gaining knowledge about snowpack, terrain, and avalanches. The field instruction is what is lacking. My field instructor actually said to me, “Snowshoes, get out of the way.” A few other degrading comments are what make me write this review. I am a middle-aged woman, very experienced with winter skills, have taken 2 glacier courses, am an instructor/leader for the AMC, formerly certified as a Wilderness First Responder, and have taught navigation courses. I signed up for this course because I need to learn about CO mountains and weather. Yet, I was not treated as a valued group member. Skiers, boarders, and split boarders are told exactly what kind of equipment to bring. There is no requirement for snowshoes. Someone in my group showed up with snowshoes that were 20 years old with two tiny flat front teeth. Sorry, but you need front, back, and side canines and incisors (otherwise known as crampons) on your snowshoes in mountains, but CMS does not make this a requirement. This impacts the group, and I wonder how much this contributes to the “Snowshoes, get out of the way” attitude. So, if you are primarily interested in classroom instruction, spend the money and go for it. It is very valuable, and I came away with a few more good resources. But if you are looking for a more specific field experience (you will be grouped with backcountry skiers), then look around wisely for a program that will welcome you 100%. And don’t fall for the rhetoric. My personal recommendation is that an AIARE Level 1 course be offered to a group made up of just snowshoers. The route and terrain decisions we make will be different from those that a backcountry skier would make. And – we could come away with new friends and contacts to snowshoe with. The backcountry skiers can join a CMS FB page so they can find new friends and new ski terrain. Snowshoers do not.
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