The American Avalanche Institute, founded by Rod Newcomb, began teaching avalanche awareness and hazard evaluation courses in the winter of 1974-75 in Silverton, Colorado and Jackson, Wyoming. In 2009, Rod handed the reins of AAI over to 3 of his instructors: Don Sharaf, Don Carpenter, and Sarah Carpenter, who spent 12 years progressing Newcomb’s legacy through the expansion of industry-renowned avalanche curriculum and student experience.

In the fall of 2021, the ownership and management of the American Avalanche Institute transitioned to Russell and Katy Hunter, the current owners of Colorado Mountain School.

AAI operates under special use permits on the Bridger-Teton, Shoshone, Wasatch-Cache, and Gallatin National Forests and is an equal opportunity employer and provider. 

Since its inception, AAI has run courses across the United States, and around the globe, educating upwards of 30,000 outdoor enthusiasts and professionals.