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in Crested Butte, Colorado

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– the Colorado Backcountry team

Winter 2023-24 AIARE Avalanche Courses

For Winter 2023-24, we will run our open-registration courses with a 3-day format. We can schedule private courses for groups of 4 or more backcountry partners using either a 3-day or Hybrid 2-day format.

3-day Format:

  • 3 full days, including daily classroom meetings and field-based practice and coaching.
  • Ideal if you want to maximize your time spent learning in-person.

Hybrid 2-day Format:

  • 4-6 hours of self-paced online learning.
  • 3-4 hours of virtual classroom meetings with your instructor and other students.
  • 2 full days of field-based practice and coaching.
  • Ideal if you need to squeeze the course into the shortest amount of field time.

Have fun, Be safe

Come to Crested Butte to learn with Colorado Backcountry for the best AIARE avalanche education in Colorado.  Our highly experienced and professional team includes AMGA certified guides, avalanche forecasters, ski patrol snow safety staff, as well AIARE Instructor Trainers, and AIARE Pro Trainers. All our staff meet or exceed AIARE and American Avalanche Association instructor qualifications.

Fundamentally, we want to save lives.  Avalanches can be deadly, but avalanche accidents are preventable.  You’ll learn the AIARE Framework:

  • PREPARE yourself as a backcountry traveller who can track seasonal conditions, investigate trip options, and practice avalanche rescue skills.
  • PLAN each day’s backcountry trip, including identifying where you do and don’t want to travel.
  • RIDE SAFELY in the backcountry by practicing an intuitive and repeatable process to manage your risk.
  • DEBRIEF each day to become a life-long learner.
Each class is based in Crested Butte.
We are proud to offer a 15% discount for students under the age of 18.
Private courses are available.
Cost includes AIARE student workbook, access to AIARE online resources, AIARE fieldbook, and certificate of completion.
All abilities and experience levels welcome for Avalanche Rescue and AIARE 1 courses.
AIARE Avalanche Course_in the field
AIARE 2 snow profile
AIARE avalanche course field work!

Course Offerings

AIARE Avalanche Rescue

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is the first module in the Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain course progression. The course is designed to be retaken every few years to keep your rescue skills honed. The format is a one-day, field-based, skills-training program. New winter travelers will learn the basics of companion rescue. Returning participants tune-up their skills with personalized coaching and feedback based on current best-practices in avalanche rescue.


AIARE 1 is the next module in the Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain course progression.  You will learn to make decisions and manage risk as a member of a backcountry group traveling in or near avalanche terrain. For 2023-24, our AIARE 1 courses will return to 3 days of field instruction in Crested Butte. This program is great for people new to the backcountry, or those looking to tune-up their avalanche risk management skills.


AIARE 2 is the final module in the AIARE Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program. This course is designed for backcountry travelers who have completed both the AIARE Avalanche Rescue and AIARE 1 courses. If you travel in the winter backcountry routinely and want to advance your decision-making skills in complicated backcountry scenarios, this course is for you. Our AIARE 2 courses will include 3 full days of field instruction in Crested Butte, along with some self-paced study.

The field work was amazing! These sessions were just packed with valuable information and experiences. Dave was a great motivator.

Register for Winter 2023/24 Courses

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