The "Switzerland of America", Ouray, Colorado, is located in the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. Ouray is the home of the San Juan Mountain Guides. During the winter season, they offer many different classes that teach people how to enjoy the extreme sports of winter in a safe and competent manner.
Obviously, Ouray is the home to the Ouray Ice Park and San Juan Mountain Guides are the official concessionaires for the park. They run the super cool Kids Climbing College where kids can learn to ice climb for free on certain weekends during the winter. There are two courses offered during the Ouray Ice Festival (January 8th and 9th) and there is another course offered on February 20th. Many of the guides have their own children so they understand a child's unique needs. The kids really enjoy their experiences and, with some encouragement and warm clothes, everyone succeeds.
Ice climbing instruction and guiding are also available for adults throughout the season. They offer basic, intermediate and private instruction and typically they provide most of the equipment for their clients at no additional charge.
If you want to explore the backcountry in the winter, SJMGs are providing an AIARE (American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education) Avalanche 1 Course. This course is simply the finest avalanche education offered in southwestern Colorado. This is a three day course and provides comprehensive training for those new to travel in avalanche terrain. Southwest Colorado contains some of the most complicated snowpack in the continental US and it is in this area where you will receive your field instruction. The instructors are more than ski guides, they are professional educators and as a result, there are 8 hours of classroom instruction and 16 hours of field instruction. Anyone who recreates in the Colorado mountains outside of a commercial ski resort during the winter needs basic avalanche understanding to ensure a safe experience. Snowmobilers, backcountry skiers and boarders need considerable knowledge of avalanches because they can be deadly.
If you are an intermediate skier at a Colorado ski resort but want to change it up a bit, why not learn how to navigate the conditions and terrain to become a competent backcountry skier? You can enroll in a backcountry ski instruction course. Earn-your-turn skiing is gaining in popularity but it can be challenging to negotiate the variable snow conditions that develop in the backcountry as well as the unseen and unknown hazards. Let the San Juan Mountain Guides hone your skills and provide you with a wealth of knowledge so you can enjoy this sport for years to come. SJMGs provide the specialized backcountry gear and are taking 15% off of their normal ski instruction rates this winter. Give it a whirl!