AIARE 1: Three Day Course

AIARE 1 Education Course

Learn how to make better decisions in avalanche terrain with the Colorado Mountain School. CMS is the world’s largest and most experienced AIARE provider! This AIARE 1 course will enhance your decision making within a backcountry setting.

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Education Course, Colorado

Our instructor team is made of experienced AIARE instructors and professional mountain guides with decades of experience in avalanche terrain, from the Alps to Alaska to right here in Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the country’s premier winter adventure destinations. In addition to classroom work, our course includes field instruction each day. Field instruction provides a well-rounded education to backcountry decision-making, trip planning, terrain selection, and companion rescue techniques. This course provides essential training for anyone traveling in avalanche terrain.  We allow participants to take this course on backcountry skis, split board, or snowshoes. With a maximum ratio of six students per instructor, we exceed AIARE minimum standards to provide the highest level of instruction.

Course Details


10 Things you’ll learn about traveling in avalanche terrain:

  • Types of avalanches and their characteristics
  • How avalanches form and release
  • Primary start-zone factors
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Ways to spot and avoid common trigger points
  • Trip planning, preparation, and navigation
  • Travel techniques
  • Group decision-making skills
  • Avalanche rescue techniques
  • Weather, terrain, and snowpack considerations


This course can be taken on snowshoes, skis, splitboard, or snowboard. Participants on alpine touring rigs must have experience on their setup prior to taking this course. Snowshoes are available for rent upon request. Students on skis or boards must be comfortable in steep blue to black terrain at the areas.


8:00am to 5:00pm


3 Days

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18

Price includes & Excludes:

Price Includes:

  • AIARE Certified Course Leader and Instructors
  • Student Manual
  • Weather-proof AIARE field book
  • BCA slope meter
  • AIARE certificate of completion
    *Lodging available for $40/night

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Ave
Estes Park, CO 80517


Reasons Why CMS AIARE Courses Are Worth It!

  • CMS is the countries largest AIARE Provider for a reason!
  • 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
  • Our Instructors are career guides, with decades of personal experience
  • Our Instructors are AMGA Ski Guide trained or Certified
  • We have a full-time office staff to answer all of your questions
  • We supply our students with their own slope meter
  • Variety of course offerings to meet our guests scheduling needs. Huts (Berthoud), Splits, CMS, Summit, Aspen L2's
  • Get avalanche training in the ski venue you ski in locally.
  • Fully sponsored by industry leaders Dynafit, Scarpa, BCA.
  • Full snow safety rental fleet.
  • Neptune ski shop support with rentals of ski equip.

Equipment List:

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Rescue & Basics
8:00       Intro to CMS, AIARE, & Course Logistics
8:40       Companion Rescue Briefing
9:00       Transition to Field Briefing
9:30       Companion Rescue Field Session
1:30       Rescue Debrief
2:00       Human Factors
2:30       Decision Making/DMF & Case Study
3:10       Break
3:25       Avalanche Types and Characteristics
4:15       Planning
4:45       Homework/ Next Day Briefing
5:00       Done

Day 2: Observations
8:00       Review
8:30       Making Field Observations
8:50       Forecast/Intro to the Avalanche Problem
9:20       Transition to Field Briefing
9:45       Field Session (Observations - Avalanche/Weather/Snowpack)
2:45       Formation of Layers & Debrief Observations
3:45       Break
3:55       Avalanche Terrain
4:45       Homework
5:00       Done

Day 3 – Tour
8:00       Debrief Case Study
8:20       Choose Terrain/Travel Wisely
9:05       Tour Planning
9:45       Transition to Field/Making Decisions in Avalanche Terrain/ Group Communication/ Rescue Practice
4:00       Course Close/ Next Steps
4:45       Done


With a sixteen-bed lodge available, Colorado Mountain School provides students the opportunity to spend their entire stay in Estes Park without the hassle of commuting. Our lodge is conveniently located in downtown Estes Park with a full kitchen, WiFi and hot showers. Lodging must be book separately for $40/night for CMS students.  Please call our office for reservations.


All Instructors for this course are certified by: