Avalanche Education

Avalanche education is a must for anyone who engages in winter activities in the backcountry, including backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and backpacking. CMC classes are a great way to do it. The club offers AIARE courses throughout the winter and spring seasons, as well as Avalanche Terrain Awareness courses. Read on.

The Colorado Mountain Club has been an American Institute of Avalanche Research Education, (AIARE), Course Provider for the courses, AIARE 1, AIARE 2, and AIARE Avalanche Rescue since 2011.

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AIARE Level 1 This 24-hour course is an introduction to managing avalanche hazard. You will learn how to use a repeatable process to manage your risk and learn from your experiences in the backcountry. You will also practice preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, keeping track of, communicating, and making decisions about hazards while in the backcountry, and learn rescue techniques if an avalanche occus and someone is caught. Students should be able to travel off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow, but there are no other prerequisites for this course.


AIARE Level 2 The AIARE 2 builds on your experience as a backcountry traveler. You will learn tools to apply The AIARE Framework, the repeatable process you learned in an AIARE 1, to new situations and to self-direct your learning after the course. You will learn more skills to connect weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain. This can enable you to act as a leader within a small travel group and to identify and target reducing uncertainty about the terrain or conditions.


AIARE Avalanche Rescue This one-day (8-hour) course is intended to be retaken on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. New participants will learn companion rescue, and returning students will expand their skills with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice. You should be able to travel off-trail on ungroomed or unmaintained terrain and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow, but there are no other prerequisites for this course.

A non-AIARE course is offered for club members who want to learn to recognize avalanche terrain, and how to plan travel to avoid it during their winter outings.


Avalanche Terrain AvoidanceATA teaches you where to find information on avalanche conditions and how to avoid avalanche terrain while in the backcountry. 

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE for CMC trip leaders and instructors who are interested in or currently lead winter backcountry trips. AIARE classes will be reimbursed. ATA classes will utilize a promo code during checkout. Click here for more information.

2023-2024 CMC AIARE & ATA Courses Schedule

*Courses Are Open For Registration*


  • BOU - Session 1: December 2-3, 2023 
  • BOU - Session 2: December 9-10, 2023 
  • BOU - NSPS AVY LEVEL 1: December 5, 12, 2023, January 7-8, 2024
  • BOU - Session 3: December 16-17, 2023
  • BOU - Session 4: January 6-7, 2024
  • BOU - Session 5: January 13-14, 2024
  • BOU - Session 6: January 20-21, 2024
  • BOU - Session 6: January 27-28, 2024
  • BOU - Session 6: February 10-11, 2024
  • BOU - Session 8: February 24-25, 2024
  • BOU - Session 9: March 9-10, 2024

Price: Public $650; CMC member discount $595

Boulder uses a combination of Self-Paced learning (4-5 hours), Tuesday & Thursday evening lectures, (Zoom- 6-9 pm), the same week as the field days, and two days outdoors (Saturday and Sunday 7 am- 4 pm). 

Additional Level 1 course offering through Bryan Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol, (BMNSP). 

Lectures 12/4 & 12/11, 2023, in Boulder. Transceiver Practice 12/6 or 12/13, 2023, 6-9pm, in Boulder; Field Days 01/6-7, 2024, in Jones or Berthoud Pass. Price: $185



AIARE Companion Rescue

  • BOU - Session 1: January 13, 2024
  • BOU - Session 2: February 17, 2024

Price: Public $260; CMC member discount $230


  • BOU - Session 1: February 16-18, 2024

Price: Public $750; CMC member discount $695

Questions for Boulder AIARE courses, contact Cindy Gagnon, avalanche@cmcboulder.org
Questions for Denver AIARE courses, contact Uwe Sartori, uwesartori@mac.com
Questions for Pikes Peak AIARE courses, contact Kristen Buckland, Buckie06@hotmail.com
Questions for Northern Colorado courses, contact Brad Warren, bradwarren27@gmail.com

Avalanche Terrain Avoidance (ATA)

Questions for Denver ATA courses, contact Brad Cotten, allcotten5@gmail.com or Linda Lawson, lkl14er@gmail.com

CMC recognizes the generous support of RAB Equipment,
official sponsor of CMC Avalanche Education.

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