AIARE Level 1 students dig to find a beacon

In 2023 and 2024, Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides will conduct a range of avalanche classes. For several years, CWRAG has been involved in exploring and educating individuals in the backcountry. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or climbing, it is crucial to be able to travel safely in winter conditions and this is the perfect class for you. We are also the only company in Colorado to conduct a snowshoe-only AIARE course!

Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides offers accredited American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) courses (AIARE Level 1, AIARE Level 2, and Avalanche Rescue). AIARE provides an introduction and opportunity for developing essential decision-making skills for avalanche hazard management.

An AIARE Level 1 student searches for a beacon with their transceiver.

Our AIARE Courses are designed to fit around a typical workday schedule in order to maximize learning time around everyday life. For AIARE level 1 and 2, there is a 4 hour zoom the Tuesday prior to your field sessions. Your field sessions are held in Rocky Mountain National Park from 7 am – 4 pm on the weekend. Rocky Mountain National Park provides an outstanding outdoor learning environment. Not only does it keep you out of I-70 traffic on the weekends, the incredible educators and guides that teach your class are able to show you some backcountry gems that they frequent in the winter months.

We have partnered with Backcountry Access (BCA) to provide our students with the latest and best in avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels, which are available for rent to our students for the duration of the course at no additional charge. Additionally, if you are looking for more tools to help you safely in the backcountry we have snow saws, backcountry ski straps, mountaineering folding magnifiers, digital thermometers, and ski binding tools available for purchase.

Students dig to recover a buried beacon


AIARE Level I is meant to teach the fundamentals of avalanche safety including reading terrain, choosing safe ascent and descent routes, mitigating hidden dangers, and learning to locate and rescue a buried companion.

Course dates:

  1. December 2-3, 2023
  2. December 9-10, 2023
  3. December 16-17, 2023
  4. January 6-7, 2024
  5. Pending: January 13-14, 2024
  6. January 20-21, 2024
  7. January 27-28, 2024
  8. February 10-11, 2024
  9. February 24-25, 2024
  10. March 9-10, 2024

Cost: $650 per person


The AIARE 2 is a three-day/24-hour course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision-making skills in more complicated situations such as being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan where resources are scarce.

The AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss the weather, snowpack, and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

Course Dates:

  1. February 2-4, 2024

Cost: $760 per person


AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a one-day stand-alone course that 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 the basics of companion rescue while returning participants will expand their skill set with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice to help improve their skills.

This course will be one day (8 hours) from 7 am – 3 pm.

  1. January 13, 2024
  2. February 17, 2024

Cost: $260 per person

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