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Which Avalanche Safety Course is Right For You?

avalanche safety course
In an AIARE Level 2 Course you will learn to apply your knowledge in new terrain, where avalanche information may not come from an avalanche center.

Avalanche Safety is Everyone’s Business


Why take an avalanche safety course?  Why not just buy the beacon, shovel and probe and get out there?  Well, its simple.  Having the right avalanche gear AND knowing how to use it can help save your life or your buddy’s in the backcountry.

Avalanche education is an ongoing process. And refreshing your avy knowledge every season is essential, especially if you only ski tour 2-3 times per year. If you want to get started now for FREE, take our Avalanche Awareness online course to kickstart your season!


Colorado Mountain School guides Andy Hansen and Mike Bortnowski give their perspective on avalanche education and why an avalanche course can help you be prepared for backcountry travel.
Colorado Mountain School guides Andy Hansen and Mike Bortnowski think you should join them this season for a course! Photo: Taylor Boyd

Avalanche Safety: Where to Start?

Maybe you have been introduced to the powerful nature of avalanches and know the importance of sharpening your knowledge. But where to start? 

We recognize this topic can be intimidating, so first, start with an AIARE Level 1 Course taught by a professional! Here’s what to look for when selecting a guide.

Not sure which avalanche training course is right for you? Read below about AIARE 1, Avalanche Rescue, and AIARE 2.

Avalanche safety
Colorado Mountain School AIARE Instructor, Jake Gaventa, teaches snow science to a group of backcountry travelers on a Level 1 Avalanche Course near Denver, Colorado.

AIARE Level 1: The Best Introduction to Avalanche Decision-Making

Our AIARE 1 Courses will teach you how to make better decisions in avalanche terrain by introducing you to The AIARE Framework

All AIARE 1 formats below feature the same curriculum but in different settings.

AIARE Level 1 3-Day Course

Our most popular format! 3 consecutive days of training in scenic Estes Park. Choose from dozens of course dates.

AIARE Level 1 Hybrid Course

Our AIARE 1 Hybrid Course is divided up between self-paced e-learning, 2 evening video calls, and 2 full days at Estes Park or Cameron Pass.

AIARE Level 1 Hut Trip

Spend 3 days and 2 nights taking your AIARE 1 while exploring backcountry terrain at either the Willow Lodge or the beautiful Broome Hut at Berthoud Pass.

avalanche safety
A 1-day Companion Rescue class with a professional guide might be a better option.

Dig Deeper with Avalanche Rescue

 The Avalanche Rescue 1-day skills course is for both new and experienced backcountry travelers. You will focus on learning basic and advanced companion rescue skills under the tutelage of a professional AIARE Instructor.

While you can take this course first, we recommend starting with AIARE 1 before moving on to Avalanche Rescue. Or you can take both courses at the same time with our Avalanche Safety Development Series: Level 1.

For First-Timers

For those new to avalanche training, Avalanche Rescue students will learn the basics of companion rescue before moving on to advanced scenarios and timed drills.

Each participant will have the opportunity to receive professional coaching on their rescue skills and will receive a rescue card acknowledging the completion date.

For AIARE Level 1 Grads

The Avalanche Rescue Course is an excellent way to shake off the rust and build upon basic rescue skills learned in Level 1 by adding in complex or multiple burial rescue situations.

AIARE 1 & Avalanche Rescue are prerequisites for AIARE 2 or the professional track. AIARE recommends this course be taken at least every other year. 

avalanche safety course
In an AIARE Level 2 Course, you will learn to apply your knowledge in new terrain, where avalanche information may not come from an avalanche center.

AIARE 2 Three-Day Course

 In an AIARE 2, students learn how to apply the AIARE Framework in new terrain, new snow climates, or areas where avalanche information comes from a variety of expert sources instead of an avalanche center.

This is especially important when drilling down past zone-level forecasts and on multi-day adventures, like a hut trip or basecamp ski expedition, where backcountry travelers must manage uncertainty by identifying and managing gaps in information.

Got more questions? Contact us and we can help you find the right course for you!

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