AIARE 1: Three Day Course

Learn how to make better decisions in avalanche terrain with the Colorado Mountain School, the world’s largest and most experienced AIARE provider!

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 to provide 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 and can be taken on backcountry skis, split board, or snowshoes. With a maximum ratio of six students per instructor in a twenty seven-hour course, 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
  • Use of beacon, shovel and probe
  • AIARE certificate of completion
    *Lodging available for $30/night

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Ave
Estes Park, CO 80517

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 exclusively to Colorado Mountain School students, you can spend your entire weekend 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 $30/night.  Please call our office for reservations.


All Instructors for this course are certified by: