AIARE 1 Avalanche Training:
A 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management
We teach a complete program of curriculum established by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and are the world’s largest and most experienced AIARE provider.
You can expect to develop a solid foundation in how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, understanding basic decision making while in the field, and avalanche rescue techniques required to locate and dig up a buried person.
Learn more about student learning outcomes in the “Curriculum” tab above.
This course provides essential training for anyone traveling in or near avalanche terrain: snowboarders, ski tourers, snowmobilers, mountaineers, snowshoers, everyone! For aspiring professionals, this course fulfills a prerequisite for the AIARE Pro 1 course down the line.
By completing this course with Colorado Mountain School, you will receive a certification from AIARE and join a network of tens of thousands of AIARE 1 avalanche training graduates.
All AIARE 1 students gain access to our season-long avalanche education membership: The Snow Pack. The Snow Pack consists of three elements: AIARE coursework, bonus education, and student perks.
Learn more about the Snow Pack membership.
Why Our AIARE Courses Are Worth It:
- Colorado Mountain School is the country’s 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
- 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 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
- Discounts on select courses, guided ski tours and lodging partners through the included Snow Pack membership
We believe that avalanche training is best taught by combining theoretical concepts and experiential learning. Some topics are best learned in a comfortable reading chair and others in the mountains, moving through terrain and digging into the snow. You’ll have both.
The first portion of your course includes an online course and group video discussions. The majority of your course will take place in the mountains. You should be prepared, mentally and physically, to stay immersed in the backcountry for up to six hours. You will be assigned to a small pod consisting of one AIARE Instructor and a maximum of six students to simultaneously allow intimate instruction and the ability to spread out. Here’s a preview itinerary of what your course could look like:
Self-Paced – e-Learning: Avalanche Basics
Self-paced online learning that must be completed prior to field days.
- Lesson 1: Intro to Colorado Mountain School, AIARE, & Course Logistics
- Lesson 2: Track the Season’s Conditions
- Lesson 3: Identifying Avalanche Terrain
- Lesson 4: Avalanche Rescue Prep
- Lesson 5: Teamwork in Avalanche Terrain
Evening 1 – 7:00pm – 8:15pm: Video Meeting
- 7:00pm – 7:15pm: Students log in, Welcome, and Introductions
- 7:15pm – 7:20pm: Check in on e-Learning progress, review course itinerary, Q&A
- 7:20pm – 8:00pm: Case study or tour planning exercise
- 8:00pm – 8:15pm: Wrap it up: Assign homework
Evening 2 – 7:00pm – 8:15pm Video Meeting
- 7:00pm – 7:15pm: Welcome back, review itinerary
- 7:15pm – 7:30pm: Review homework / case study discussion
- 7:30pm – 8:00pm: Mountain weather discussion
- 8:00pm – 8:15pm: Gear prep for field
Field Day 1 – 8:00am – 4:00pm
- 7:30am – 8:00am: Meet at trailhead, rental gear check out, hand out AIARE field books and Friends of CAIC Trailhead Membership
- 8:00am – 8:30am: Trailhead transceiver function check
- 8:30am – 11:30am: Companion rescue practice
- 11:30am – 12:00pm: Transition to instructor led tour and snowpack observations
- 12:00pm – 3:30pm: Terrain tour (ATES) and relevant snowpack observations
- 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Debrief observations in the field and return to trailhead
Field Day 2 – 8:00am – 4:00pm
- 7:30am – 8:00am: Meet at trailhead
- 8:00am – 8:15am: Morning discussion (avalanches, snowpack, weather)
- 8:15am – 8:30am: Trailhead transceiver function check
- 9:00am – 2:00pm: Student/Instructor-led tour: Terrain Identification, recording observations in field books, snowpack tests / observations, weather observations, review companion rescue
- 2:00pm – 2:30pm: Debrief your pod in the field
- 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Return to trailhead
- 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Hand in rental gear, course wrap up & next steps
Optional Learning Resources — All Season Long
- Virtual mentorship sessions
- Students-only webinars
- Tech tip video library
- Community facebook forum: find partners, discuss coursework & more
e-Learning: in your Colorado Mountain School account (automatically created during registration)
Video calls: link to be sent by your instructor roughly two weeks prior
Field Sessions: at the trailhead, communicated ahead of time by your instructor
Estes Park: Fall River Village – a beautiful lodge just a five minute walk from downtown Estes Park. They are offering Colorado Mountain School students a discount on their Longs Peak Cottage floor plan. Please contact us to redeem.
Cameron Pass: There are a variety of cabins, vacation rentals and camping options available on / near Cameron Pass. Learn more about Cameron Pass and options for lodging near State Forest State Park.
All of our courses can be run as custom outings. If your group is interested in a custom avalanche training course, please call us at 720-387-8944.
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 winter backcountry adventures. 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 COVID-19 FAQ page.
All Upcoming Dates and Locations:
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