Review: AIARE Courses - Colorado Mountain School

Colorado Mountain School
Colorado Mountain School

Quite a few people have asked me where I would recommend taking an accredited AIARE (American Institute Avalanche Research and Education) course. For an AIARE Level One or AIARE Level Two avalanche course, hands down I would recommend Colorado Mountain School (CMS). The instructors and venue cannot be beat. If you spend any time in the backcountry during the winter months (ski, snowboard, snowshoe, climb, snowmobile) taking an AIARE level One avalanche course is an invaluable investment. CMS is the country’s premier AIARE provider and they educate more students in avalanche safety than any other provider in the United States.

Colorado Mountain School is based in Boulder Colorado. The venue for training takes place at the CMS lodge just outside of Rocky Mountain national Park. The action-packed AIARE courses take place both in the classroom at the CMS lodge and on the snow in the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park. Students can also stay in lodge which is nice because at night you can grab a local beer and study and review material with other classmates in the evening.


I have done several AIARE courses at CMS, and both the venue and level of training you get are just amazing. AIARE training is part of the uniformed message being sent out to all backcountry users under Project Zero. I would urge everyone that ventures in to the winter backcountry to get training from an accredited AIARE provider.


Here is a taste of the venue from a few of the AIARE courses I took at CMS.


Take an AIARE course at CMS!

There are a few options for classes at CMS;

Weekend Courses: 

Mixture of classroom and field work over three days (generally Friday, Saturday and Sunday – 8 am to 5 pm).  All three days take place in Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park.

Split Courses: 

Two evening classroom sessions (Tuesday & Thursday – 6:00pm to 9:00pm) at various locations and two field days in Rocky Mountain National Park (Saturday and Sunday 8am to 5pm).

Lodging: The location in Estes Park is also a lodge. They have 16 beds spread over three separate rooms. They have three separate showers, three separate restrooms, a full kitchen and a lounge area. Only $25 + tax per person per night.


cmsColorado Mountain School

Phone: 800-836-4008 x3


Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm

For a complete list of classes and more information see the Colorado Mountain School website

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