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Avalanche education students assessing snowpits in Montana

Avalanche Education

Our 3-day recreational courses are designed to give current and aspiring skiers, splitboarders, and mountaineers the tools they need to access the backcountry safely. They are formatted with the guidelines set forth by the American Avalanche Association. 

Expect in-depth instruction in backcountry travel, terrain management, snowpack assessment, rescue practices, and decision making with field time on all 3 days. Each course is run by two instructors, allowing for a low student to instructor ratio and unique perspectives.


Avalanche bulletins, ski & rescue equipment, and the recipe for an avalanche.


Obvious avalanche terrain, human factors and their role in decision making, and safe travel routes.


Risk management tools, in-field decision making, and rescue procedures.


Snowpack tests, observations, and route finding.

Why take a Rec Avalanche Level 1?

If you want to explore the mountains during winter, awareness and understanding of avalanches is essential to safe passage. Level 1 Avalanche Courses give you the technical skills to identify hazards and employ techniques to improve your decision making. They include everyday practices that help you mitigate risk and avoid the worst-case scenario. With these tools, you might even save someone's life one day. 

Avalanche courses are a great way to meet other like-minded backcountry users; many times our students walk away with new (and educated) partners.

Red Lodge and Cooke City are off the radar, and no guidebook exists for the backcountry terrain nearby. Although there is class time, we make the majority of our courses in the field and, because of that, you can expect to learn more about the terrain in real time.


Whether you've been doing this for years or your just starting, the Level 1 is an important step in your backcountry learning.

why take

Why take a Rec Avalanche Level 2?

The Level 2 course is a great way to deepen your avalanche knowledge in a formal education setting. While you already know how to choose low angle lines and read the terrain for terrain traps, in the Level 2 course you get the chance to get into more complex terrain. In our classroom setting you will learn more about snow metamorphism and how to understand the season's snowpack history. Our courses are designed after the American Avalanche Association's Guidelines. We will spend most of the time in the field with two mornings or afternoon in the classroom.

Why choose Beartooth Mountain Guides?

Beartooth Mountain Guides has been providing courses for 20 years. Our Level 1 & 2 is taught by variety of experienced locals, mountain guides, and avalanche professionals. 

Reasons to choose BMG:

  • 3-day courses with field-time every day; we believe in learning by doing

  • Direct instruction in town; no pre-recorded lessons and plenty of time for Q&A

  • Low group ratios; typically 4:1 ratio, meaning more time with your instructor

  • Minimal drive time; all BMG courses have little (< 15 min) to no daily drive time, unlike many courses with 1+hr daily drives

  • Affordable price; we aim to keep our courses accessible

  • Epic terrain; Between Cooke City's undoubtedly perfect location and Red Lodge's lift access

We offer now Scholarships for Avalanche Education.

Cooke City,
Red Lodge or Paradise Valley?

Although both in the Beartooths, Cooke City and Red Lodge are two different venues for your avalanche course. Take a moment to consider which is best for you. 

Cooke City

  • Regularly deep and consistent snowpack (good skiing!)

  • Destination ski town, perfect way to preview terrain

  • In-town yurt classroom

  • Minimal to no drive time; Skiing/riding from the classroom

  • Scenic drive through Yellowstone in the winter

  • Fewer accommodation options (book early!)

  • 3+ hours to Bozeman and Billings

  • Early to mid season course offerings

Red Lodge

  • Easy access; only 1 hr from Billings & Cody 

  • In-town class, walking distance to coffee/bakery

  • 15 minute drive time to field-sessions

  • Lift accessed day, tickets included

  • Variety of accommodation options

  • Variable snowpack; usually reactive to our tests & great for learning

  • Mid season (February 18-20)

Paradise Valley

  • Full package

  • Lodging included

  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners included (private chef)

  • Proximity from Bozeman (1 & 1/2 hrs) to Tom Miner Basin

  • Classroom on site

  • Ski right out of your door

  • No driving needed on ranch

  • Unique access to private land in Paradise Valley

bmg & rlvcc
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