Colorado Backcountry Guide Service: AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course

Dominic Gawel | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche
AMGA Ski Guide David Bumgarner explaining if you are going to do something, do it right! Photo: Dominic Gawel

The Colorado Backcountry Guide Service is based out of Crested Butte, Colorado, and offers a variety of backcountry trips including avalanche education. They are an AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) provider. Their Avalanche Rescue Course is a great intro to avalanche rescue and is now a prerequisite for AIARE Level 2 Courses.

The AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course covers the basics of avalanche rescue. The single-day curriculum covered avalanche companion rescue (single burials), multi-burials, strategic shoveling, systematic rescue, and lots of rescue drills.

Testing beacon signal distance—the Mammut Barryvox S outperformed other beacons for distance in analog and digital modes. Photo: Dominic Gawel

AIARE lists the following as student learning objectives for avalanche rescue:

  • Describe what to do if they or a member of their party is caught in an avalanche.
  • Identify and be able to use the gear necessary for avalanche rescue.
  • Set up a realistic scenario in order to practice an avalanche rescue response.
  • Improve their response skills and times during and after the course with feedback from instructors and peers.
  • Develop a plan for continuing practice.
Strategic shoveling about to begin. Photo: Dominic Gawel

It is incumbent you get the proper training before heading into the backcountry. Some of the major takeaways from this AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course were to do tasks with intention, stay organized, follow a strategic system, and move slow to move fast (take a breath so you can think clearly). An AIARE Level 1 and AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course are two of the best courses you can take to invest in yourself and others’ safety.

Rescuers Zander Born and Andrew Bristow performing a multi-burial avalanche rescue. Photo: Dominic Gawel
Beacon search! Photo: Zander Born

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