The High Mountain Institute is a course provider for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and offers avalanche awareness courses each winter. The courses offered at HMI meet nationally recognized curriculum standards and are taught by AIARE qualified instructors.


The AIARE 1 course is a must-do for any winter backcountry enthusiast. Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught). This course includes both classroom and field elements. Click here to view a sample syllabus.


In the past the AIARE 2 was designed to be an entry level professional course. The redesigned (as of 2017) AIARE 2 is designed specifically to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue class. The 8-hour Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for Level 2.

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 online 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 weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

AIARE Avalanche Rescue

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 return participants will expand their skill set with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice to help improve their skills after the course.

Each participant will have the opportunity to receive professional coaching on their rescue skills and will receive a rescue card acknowledging completion date at course end.

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2 and Pro 1 courses. AIARE recommends that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue Course and receiving a rescue card at least every other year.

Avalanche Refresher Course

Feeling a bit rusty with your avalanche safety skills? Our Avalanche Refresher course provides an opportunity for folks who have previously taken a Level 1 avalanche course (or higher) to review their skills, increase their confidence, and brush up on the newest industry standards. The majority of the course will be field-based.