WINTER 2020-2021 Schedule Coming Fall 2020

Join Colorado Backcountry for the best in avalanche education.  Our team of instructors is led by Ben Pritchett, 15-year program director and curriculum developer for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).  Who better to learn from than one of the masterminds behind the curriculum?   


Fundamentally, we want to save lives.  Avalanches can be deadly, but avalanche accidents are preventable.  You'll learn how to:

  • 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.


AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a one-day, scenario-based course designed for both new winter travelers and experienced veterans. New participants learn the basics of companion rescue while returning participants improve their skills by incorporating the latest technology and avalanche rescue theory.


AIARE 1 and AIARE 2 courses are 3 days long, starting and finishing in the classroom, with a big chunk of the day spent in the backcountry, traveling through the terrain, making decisions, having fun! AIARE 1 provides an introduction to decision making tools and risk management for avalanche terrain.  AIARE 2 is for backcountry travelers who have completed both the Avalanche Rescue course and AIARE 1 who are looking to advance their decision-making skills in complicated backcountry scenarios.



  • Inside perspective - 15 years as the National Program Director at AIARE, we know the curriculum inside and out!

  • We'll maximize your experience - we're professional educators who will target your personal learning needs.

  • An amazing learning venue - awesome ski terrain for all abilities, easy trailhead access, gorgeous views, reliable snowpack, and a super fun town!

We are proud to offer a 15% discount for students under the age of 18. Please send us an email to register.

Private courses are available.

Cost includes student manual, AIARE fieldbook, and certificate of completion.

All abilities and experience levels welcome for Avalanche Rescue and AIARE 1 courses.

Avalanche Education

Choosing terrain on an AIARE 1 course