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AIARE Companion Rescue Course

learn the critical skills of companion rescue.


AIARE Companion Rescue course overview

Whether you are a novice to backcountry skiing or an experienced rider, we all get rusty when we don’t regularly practice critical skills. The consequence of that rust is amplified when we talk about life-saving skills that are critical when navigating avalanche terrain.  Our AIARE Companion Rescue Course was designed as a yearly refresher to help backcountry travelers easily navigate the transition from summer back to winter activities and help keep your skills up to date.

With that said, companion rescue requires at least two individuals to successfully refresh your skills and this course is a great opportunity to practice rescue techniques with your backcountry partners. This course will get you and your friends up to speed on the latest avalanche rescue techniques and the practice that should be required from all of your ski partners before each season.

And if you don’t have a group of backcountry partners this is a great way to meet new ones.

Why take a San Juan Expedition’s AIARE Companion Rescue Course?

The reason why we have been so successful with our avalanche programs over the years comes from three main components. 

1. We are based in Silverton and Durango, Colorado – The premier location to learn about avalanche education in the United States with a history of avalanche research.

2. Our AIARE Instructors are also trained by the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association). We are not just avalanche instructors but also guides with experience in a variety of terrain and snowpacks all around the world.

3. By taking our Avalanche Rescue course you get exclusive access to exclusive San Juan Expeditions Mentorship Days and alumni groups. We are committed to helping you continue your education after your AIARE course is finished and want to connect you with other competent partners within our community.

who we are

We stand behind and hand-select everyone of our guides/instructors. All of our guides are educators first and experienced mountain athletes second. This year we have two guides that have been listed for “Piolet D’or” awards and have previously received grants for cutting edge expeditions around the world. Our team is sponsored by “The North Face” and contribute to the new product lines of technical outerwear. We have a reputation for safety in the rugged and dynamic environment of the San Juan Mountains and we take safety very seriously. We are respected in the local Durango/Silverton, community and by our happy loyal clients (see our Google reviews).


spi course beginner difficulty


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AIARE Companion Rescue Course Outcomes

All of our companion rescue courses incorporate emergency sled construction and patient extraction practice This one-day, stand-alone course 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. This course is a prerequisite for all AIARE Avy 2 Courses. 

1. Construction of a rescue sled

2. Advanced beacon searches and complex rescue scenarios

3. What to do in multiple burial situations

4. Considerations for an organized rescue

Where You Will Stay

Silverton Lodging

Silverton provides an ideal base camp for our AIARE Companion Rescue Course. The town is conveniently positioned a short distance from the million-dollar highway on the Southern side of Red Mountain Pass. Nestled in a yawning valley surrounded by a crown of peaks looming above, access to technical terrain is fantastic. The historic town emanates the vibe of a remote outpost but the parallels to a rugged frontiers town stop there. Historic Greene St. hosts a variety of Coffee shops, restaurants, bars and more to indulge in on your off time from the course. If you are coming from out of town Silverton has no shortage of places to rest your muscles after a long day in the mountains. Our lodging partners The Columbine Road HouseAvon Hotel, and The Wyman Hotel offer San Juan Expeditions guests a 10% discount on their preferred lodging. If you have any additional questions on lodging feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

where we will meet

Your guide will reach out to you in advance to coordinate the official meeting location for the Companion Rescue Course. We often utilize Molas Pass for it’s easy access, representative terrain, and incredible views to run this course. In the rare event you don’t hear from your guide prior to your course, the San Juan Expeditions HQ in Silverton is always our default meeting location where we talk about what to expect for the coming course, and the depart to the field as a group. 

SJE HQ Asset

What is Included in the cost?

included in trip cost icon

– AMGA certified & trained guide

– Federal land usage surcharge (USFS/BLM)

– Avalanche rescue equipment (beacon, shovel, and probe)

Not Included Icon

– Guide gratuity

– Snow travel equipment (splitboard or AT skis)

– Personal clothing/gear

* If you need to rent equipment locally visit our partners at Cripple Creek Backcountry and pick up your gear at our shop in Silverton.

Course Gallery

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past clients feedback

We took an AIARE companion rescue course from Jack and the information and practice we got was invaluable. Jack was professional, fun, and extremely knowledgable. He was also flexible and worked around scheduling issues due to COVID-19. 100% would recommend taking an avalanche course from San Juan Expeditions, it should be a must if you’re traveling in the backcountry.

Anja Davis

San Juan Expeditions creates a welcoming and positive learning environment. Our group had a blast in the all womens Companion Rescue course! Jack is a wonderful community member, providing experiences for The Fort Lewis Keeping Women Wild Club! We are so grateful for his mentorship and positive attitude. I can’t wait for the next adventure with SJE!
Bel Young


Anyone participating in our programs must fill out a waiver beforehand. If you are under 18, please have your parent/guardian complete.


Please familiarize yourself with our Booking & Cancellation Policies.


Skiers/riders should be in good physical condition, and confident/comfortable on their method of snow travel (backcountry touring skis or splitboard).