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Avalanche Rescue

  • Price: $279.00
  • Duration: 9 hours
(1 customer review)

Avalanche Rescue is a one day course, designed to enhance participants skills in companion rescue within an avalanche scenario.

Colorado Mountain School teaches the American Avalanche Institute (AAI) recreational curriculum (in place of the AIARE curriculum).  The AAI curriculum is approved by the American Avalanche Association (A3) and sets a new standard for avalanche training in the United States.

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Don’t see a date and location that works for you? We offer custom guiding 365 days a year. 

Looking for an avalanche training course in Utah, Wyoming or Montana? Sign up with our friends at American Avalanche Institute.


Avalanche Rescue Course curriculum brought to you by:

American Avalanche Institute Logo

We teach a complete program of curriculum established and developed by the American Avalanche Institute (AAI).

The AAI Avalanche Rescue course is a one-day field based course focused on learning, practice and coaching of companion rescue techniques.  This course covers rescue fundamentals, survival statistics, survival strategies, and first response tactics. We will take time to demonstrate and then practice transceiver searches, airbag deployment, strategic shoveling, and team rescue response. We will discuss what to carry in the field, recommended training for backcountry travel, and emergency response strategies. This is a great opportunity to learn or hone your avalanche rescue response skills.

Each participant will have the opportunity to receive professional coaching on their rescue skills and will receive a rescue card at course end.

This is a stand alone course and is intended for anyone interested in backcountry travel, retaking the course on a regular basis is strongly encouraged to maintain skill sets and stay up to date on changes and developments in rescue methodology and techniques. 

Students who have previously taken an Avalanche Level 1 or an Avalanche Rescue Course will find value in having a professional help them set up a realistic scenario, practice skills in a realistic setting, receive feedback from an instructor, keep up with current best practices, and have an opportunity to practice advanced rescue skills. 

Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the Level 2 Avalanche and Pro 1 courses. CMS and AAI recommend that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue Course and receiving a rescue card at least every other year.



Colorado Mountain School Adopts American Avalanche Institute Curriculum in Place of AIARE Course Curriculum

For 50 years, the American Avalanche Institute has provided one the most successful professional and recreational avalanche training programs. At the recreational and professional levels, their courses and curricula are fully approved by the American Avalanche Association (A3). AAI’s guides, avalanche professionals, and educators create the best recreational and professional avalanche courses in the world. Read more information about the switch from AIARE to AAI curriculum.

Sample Itinerary:

AM Session:

Instructor and Student Introductions, Course Objectives, Course Itinerary and Logistics

Personal and group avalanche rescue gear

  • Identify and become familiar with winter personal protective, avalanche rescue, and self-evacuation equipment and their proper use.
  • learn techniques and practice routines to check gear’s function, learn a systematic trailhead check

Individual Avalanche Rescue

  • Foundational rescue skills – transceivers, pinpoint probing and shoveling – coaching and practice
  • Scene size up and rescue plan
  • Managing your backcountry group in rescue settings

Single Burial Scenarios

  • Integrate individual skills into a rescue scenario.

PM Session:

Patient Considerations and Evacuation

  • Identify potential patient care considerations resulting from avalanche burial or involvement.
  • Learn about equipment for self-evacuation and communication to outside resources.
  • Learn considerations when interfacing with Search and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services.

Small Group Scenarios – Practice and Feedback

  • Practice real rescue scenarios in small groups – delegate and Integrate skills and receive feedback on rescue response from a professional.

Advanced Topics

  • How/when to deploy a probe line with a partner(s)
  • Apply foundational skills to multiple victim scenarios without close proximity burials.
  • Recognize challenges associated with deep burials.
  • Employ repeatable method (Micro-strip or 3-circle) for locating close-proximity multiple burials

Course Close

  • Feedback, where to go from here, other resources

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Ave
Estes Park, CO 80517


If you require lodging at our hostel in Estes Park, please make your reservations online in advance. Beds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our hostel features 16 beds in 3 rooms, bathrooms, showers, a full kitchen with appliances, dishes and utensils, wi-fi, ping-pong table, and a lounge area. Please be considerate of others lodgers during your stay.



We believe that avalanche training is best taught by combining theoretical concepts and experiential learning. Some topics are best learned in a comfortable classroom setting and others in the mountains, moving through terrain and digging into the snow. You’ll have both.

The majority of your course will take place in the mountains where we will learn in an open-air environment. You should be prepared, mentally and physically, to stay immersed in the backcountry for up to 8 hours. You will be assigned to a small pod consisting of one AIARE Instructor and a maximum of six students to allow intimate instruction and physical distancing.

The nature of this pandemic requires us to be flexible and adaptable in how we deliver a quality training experience. Rest assured, from the moment you enroll all the way up to your course field days and beyond, our instructors will be a part of your learning progression and will provide you with the tools and resources you need to best prepare for your avalanche training course. If you’d like to learn more about what we are doing to manage COVID-19 risk for our students and guides, please view our FAQ page.

Why Take an Avalanche Course from CMS:

  • The AAI curriculum was developed, refined and honed by working Professionals in some of the most avalanche prone mountain ranges of North America.
  • Our Instructors are educators, not just minimally qualified instructors
  • We spend the majority of the course in the mountains, not inside
  • We provide valuable pre-course material to help you prepare
  • We provide bonus education opportunities to help you keep learning
  • Our Instructors are career guides, with decades of personal backcountry experience
  • Our Instructors are AMGA Ski Guide-trained or certified
  • We have a full-time office staff of GUIDES to answer all of your questions
  • Dozens of course dates to meet our guests scheduling needs
  • Get avalanche training in the ski venue you ski in locally
  • Fully sponsored by industry leaders Dynafit, SCARPA, Backcountry Access
  • Full avalanche rescue kit rentals at no charge – try before you buy

This course pertains to:

  • Winter recreationists that travel in backcountry settings: Skiers, Snowboarders, Snowmobilers, Snowshoers, & Winter Mountaineers
  • Aspiring Professionals
  • SAR Volunteers
  • EMS/LE

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • November 24, 2024 - November 24, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 1, 2024 - December 1, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 5, 2024 - December 5, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 7, 2024 - December 7, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 8, 2024 - December 8, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 12, 2024 - December 12, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 15, 2024 - December 15, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 19, 2024 - December 19, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 22, 2024 - December 22, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 26, 2024 - December 26, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • December 29, 2024 - December 29, 2024 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 2, 2025 - January 2, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 5, 2025 - January 5, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 9, 2025 - January 9, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 12, 2025 - January 12, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 17, 2025 - January 17, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 19, 2025 - January 19, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 26, 2025 - January 26, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 30, 2025 - January 30, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 2, 2025 - February 2, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 6, 2025 - February 6, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 9, 2025 - February 9, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 14, 2025 - February 14, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 16, 2025 - February 16, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 20, 2025 - February 20, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 23, 2025 - February 23, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 2, 2025 - March 2, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 9, 2025 - March 9, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 16, 2025 - March 16, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 23, 2025 - March 23, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 30, 2025 - March 30, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • April 6, 2025 - April 6, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado
  • April 13, 2025 - April 13, 2025 - Avalanche Rescue - Estes Park, Colorado

Avalanche Rescue Principles:

  • Survival rates and times
  • Victim demographics and statistics
  • Review of avalanche avoidance
  • Escape and survival techniques if caught in an avalanche
  • Rescuer safety/response
  • Recent developments and research

Avalanche Gear & Technique:

  • Digital Beacon
  • Probing and Shoveling technique
  • Additional optional safety gear/response
  • Airbags & Avalungs
  • Helmets
  • Recco
  • Organized Probe Lines

Companion Rescue Process:

  • Scene Safety and Size-up
  • Communication, organization & leadership
  • Last Seen Area
  • Activating EMS
  • Search Techniques
  • Transceiver Search
  • Pinpointing techniques
  • Non-transceiver search
  • Probing shoveling practice
  • Troubleshooting common problems
  • Group Management
  • Deep Burials
  • Multiple close proximity burials
  • Communications
  • Reporting


This course can be taken on AT skis, splitboard, or snowshoes. Participants must have experience on their setup prior to taking this course and be comfortable in steep blue to black terrain at the areas. Snowshoes are available upon request.


8:00am - 5:00pm


9 hours

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under age 18
Experience Level


Activity Level

Easy Active


Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding



Price Includes:

Price Excludes:

  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Skiing Equipment (we recommend Neptune Mountaineering)
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Misc. Charges
    • Rescue Fees
    • Helicopter Fees
    • Trip Insurance
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School
  • Please note that for lift-access courses at Eldora Mountain Resort, participants will be required to have a valid lift ticket. Lift tickets can be purchased on the day of your course for 50% off. Season passes will also be accepted.

Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Avalanche Beacon

Modern, digital, three-antennae beacon with fresh batteries.


BCA Tracker 3 or 4

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School or Neptune Mountaineering

Avalanche Probe

Collapsable metal or carbon rod used to probe avalanche debris while attempting to strike a buried target.


BCA Stealth 300

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School or Neptune Mountaineering

Avalanche Rescue Shovel

Ski specific shovel used to dig pits and avalanche rescue. A metal blade is mandatory.


BCA B1 Ext

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School or Neptune Mountaineering

Backpack: 20-40 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing.



Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Baselayer Bottoms

Synthetic or Merino Wool, Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended.


Men: Rab Syncrino Leggings
Women: Rab Syncrino Leggings


Beanie or Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.


Filament Beanie


Climbing Skins

Nylon or mohair. Trimmed and adjusted to fit your skis or splitboard ahead of time.


Fischer Climbing Skins

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Face Mask – PPE

Optional; Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

1 Clothing
Floatation (Skis, Snowboard, or Snowshoes)

Students are welcome to participate on snowshoes, skis, or Splitboard. Skis should have touring bindings; lightweight tech bindings are ideal. Splitboards are ideal for snowboarders. Snowboarders using resort snowboards will need to have snowshoes. All students will need poles.


Skis: Fischer Transalp 98 CTI
Bindings: Dynafit Radical

Splitboard: Weston Backcountry
Splitboard Bindings: Spark/Karakoram x Weston


Neptune Mountaineering


Skis and Splitboards: Neptune Mountaineering
Snowshoes: Colorado Mountain School


Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.


Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Hardshell Pants

These should be non-insulated pants with ankle cuffs wide enough to fit over your ski or ride boots.


Men: Rab Khroma Kinetic Pant
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Kinetic Pants

Rab Stores

Hot Drinks

Coffee, tea, hot cocoa are great for warming up when it’s cold outside.


Cusa Tea; Alpine Start Coffee

Neptune Mountaineering

Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a “wicking” layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.


Men: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee
Women: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee


Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.


Rab Vapour-Rise Glove

Rab Store

Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Mechanical Pencil

Great for taking notes in the field.

1 Optional
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.


Men: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie
Women: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie


Midweight Softshell Glove

This is the workhorse glove and is most often worn on warmer days when mountaineering. Softshell gloves are water-resistant and durable. They often have leather palms and fingers.


Rab Khroma Tour Glove


Neck Gaiter

“Buffs” are quite versatile in their uses. They can be used as light beanies, neck warmers, and can offer face protection from the cold wind or sun.


CMS Neck Gaiter

Neptune Mountaineering

Ski Helmet

This item is recommended but not required. We will be skiing in the trees, and in snow conditions where rocks, stumps, and downded logs are present.


Camp Speed Comp

Neptune Mountaineering

Ski or Snowboard Boots

Footwear should be appropriate to mode of travel i.e. ski, snowboard, or insulated winter boots for snowshoes. For snowshoers, a boot such as the Scarpa Mont Blanc is the minimum level of boot required. Ski Boots should have a walk mode.


Scarpa Maestrale RS

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Ski or Trekking Poles

Two poles, with powder baskets, are required for all skiers, splitboarders, and snowshoers. It is ideal if poles are ski-specific and collapse small enough to fit onto a pack when climbing.


BCA Scepter

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering


Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps – keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it “breaths,” which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.


Men: Rab VR Summit Jacket
Women: Rab VR Summit Jacket


Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion


North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the bright mountain sun at bay.


Rab Trucker Logo Cap



“Wrap-Around” style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.



Zeal Optics 

Neptune Mountaineering

SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Synthetic or Down Puffy Jacket

Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days. Synthetic puffies are more durable, are easily laundered, and dry out quickly if wet. Down puffies are lighter weight, pack smaller, and provide exceptional warmth, but once wet, they stay wet.


Men: Rab Mythic Alpine Light Jacket
Women: Rab Mythic Alpine Light Jacket


Synthetic or Merino Wool Socks

Wool and synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. “Ski” and “Snowboard” socks are especially useful when warmth is desired.


Point 6 AT Hike Light Crew

Neptune Mountaineering


Many ice climbers prefer to bring a thermos of hot water or soup instead of one of their water bottles.


Neptune Mountaineering

Toe Warmers and Hand Heaters

Help keep you warm on particularly cold days.


Neptune Mountaineering

Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.


Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.


Men: Rab Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket




Q: Will COVID-19 impact my course?

A: 2020 made it clear that running programs while managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission is a challenge. It is a challenge that the Colorado Mountain School team tackled creatively and courageously. We may need to shift our classrooms to virtual settings at a moment’s notice. We may need to put on masks unexpectedly. We may need to go outside and distance ourselves. No matter what though, we are committed to running programs, providing education, and serving our mission, while also maintaining the highest standards of risk management. Please visit our FAQ page or contact us for more information.

1 review for Avalanche Rescue

  1. Damis Yancopoulos (verified owner)

    This course was well worth the cost, a short but intensive day of learning and refreshing of old skills. We were able to expand on skills gained during the Level 1, but even those who had never taken the L1 (My partner) were able to learn from the ground up without feeling lost or behind.
    This course is great for those looking to gain some confidence in backcountry rescue and really creates a foundation to build off of for those of all experience and ability.

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