Affiliated Organizations

The Wilderness Medicine Training Center

The Wilderness Medicine Training Center (WMTC) provides unrivaled training for serious students of pre-hospital wilderness care and risk management. WMTC courses expertly meld decades of field experience and training with the latest research and technology. WMTC bases its medical curriculum on the practice guidelines established by the Wilderness Medical Society and is a signatory to the WFA, WAFA, and WFR scope of practice (SOP) documents. WMTC certifications are accepted nationally and internationally by organizations such as Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the American Camping Association, the Boy Scouts of America, and all state and federal guide licensing agencies.

WMTC Courses

WMTC courses are hands-on, intense, practical, and fun. Course curriculum uses a mechanism of injury/illness perspective that facilitates learning, critical thinking under pressure, and accurate field assessment & treatment.  Students learn how to think in a medical emergency, and to utilize the most valuable tool a medical care provider has: their brain. Over 75% of every medical course is hands-on practical skill labs, realistic simulations, after incident debriefs, and case study reviews.

WMTC Instructors

WMTC instructors are some of the finest in the world. They have been carefully selected from a field of high-quality applicants. They then undergo the toughest instructor training program in the business. Their lessons are backed by their extensive experience in the field as guides, trip leaders, and medical care providers. WMTC instructors are also highly skilled educators, adept at translating their knowledge into information students can understand and use. They ensure students learn the skills they need to make effective medical decisions in a wilderness environment.

Rescue 3 International

Rescue 3 International provides excellent courses in swiftwater rescue, technical rope rescue, and much more. Rescue 3 is known for providing dynamic curriculum, constantly developing new and innovative rescue techniques, improving on old techniques, and working with manufacturers to develop equipment to meet rescuers needs. Rescue 3’s curriculum meets the National Fire and Protection Agency’s (NFPA) standard for Technical Water and Rope Rescue, known as NFPA 1670 and 1006.

Rescue 3 Courses

Providing students with practical, real world experience, Rescue 3 courses are intensive, active, and fun. Courses give students the skills and knowledge to keep them from becoming victims themselves, as well as safe and effective ways to perform rescues. Students will be engaged and energized by the hands on nature of the trainings and will leave prepared for swiftwater emergencies.

Rescue 3 Instructors

Rescue 3’s instructors are professionals working in the disciplines they teach. They include paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement officers, Search and Rescue team members, as well as river guides and military personnel. While Rescue 3’s instructors come from a wide variety of fields, they all share the same drive to save lives and teach others life saving techniques.

American Institute for Avalanche

Research and Education

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education’s mission is simple: Save lives through avalanche education.

AIARE’s goals are to:

  • Increase the public awareness of avalanches and avalanche safety
  • Provide high quality avalanche education and thereby enhance public awareness and safety
  • Provide avalanche instructors with the curriculum, training and tools with which to educate students about the knowledge, methods, and decision making skills necessary to travel in avalanche terrain
  • Develop an international network of professional avalanche educators, and provide continued professional development in the form of instructor training and education.
  • Promote safety for all avalanche workers through professional avalanche training.
  • Fund projects that develop avalanche course support materials for educators and students.

AIARE adheres to the instructional guidelines established by the American Avalanche Association (AAA).

AIARE Courses

AIARE courses are designed to be a complete program of avalanche education. Within each course the lesson plans, student materials, and teaching aids are fully integrated. What you hear and see when an instructor delivers the content of a lesson plan in class or in the field is linked with what you take home when you leave.

Each course of the progression builds on knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite course(s). The core curriculum for each course is established by:

  • Review and meet guidelines set by the American Avalanche Association
  • Comparison/alignment with other recognized programs, such as, the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Recreational and Industry Training Programs.
  • Review and approval from the AIARE Technical Director who regularly discusses issues and ideas with course leaders, instructors, and course providers to develop, maintain, and upgrade curriculum.

AIARE Instructors

AIARE believes instructors need a combination of field experience, technical training, and teaching skills as well as ongoing upgrading in all of these areas. The organization feels it is important to include young, new instructors in the corps as well as the older experienced ones; this ensures that the instructor pool is constantly renewed, encourages the development of new ideas, and promotes growth in the program as a whole as well as in the individuals who teach the program. Instructors are required to meet specific personal qualifications and training prerequisites before being allowed access to AIARE course materials. Those who have the pre-requisites are required to meet specific requirements before qualifying for instructor status. The specific requirements increase as the level of the course an instructor wishes to teach goes up. In addition, course leader requirements are higher than instructor requirements.

SW Rescue Instructors

Aaron Ball

Aaron Ball is Southwest Rescue’s owner and lead instructor. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years as a guide, instructor, trainer, and supervisor.  Aaron is a Rescue 3 International instructor trainer, a Wilderness Medicine Training Center senior instructor, and an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education professional and recreational avalanche instructor, course leader, and instructor trainer. Additionally, Aaron is a faculty member in Fort Lewis College’s Adventure Education Department and a guide for San Juan Mountain Guides.

Aaron sits on several committees and boards including the Open Sky Wilderness’s risk management committee and the board of directors for the Friends of the San Juans.  He has given numerous talks at national and regional conferences including the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) annual conference, and Association for Experiential Education (AEE) regional conferences.  Aaron has a Master’s Degree in adventure education with a specific emphasis on risk management.

Aaron Kent

Aaron Kent has been working in first response and outdoor education since 2010.  He is a Rescue 3 International Instructor Trainer in Ropes, Water, and Ice Rescue, and is an Instructor Trainer for the Wilderness Medical Training Center International.  He is an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities nationwide and has worked in international public health and expedition leadership for most of his professional career.  He is also the regional director for the Southwest Region of Rescue 3 International.

When not teaching courses, Aaron has an obsession with whitewater paddle boarding and any other sport that gets him into the beautiful backcountry of the San Juan Mountains.  He serves on the La Plata County Search and Rescue Team, and is a Firefighter/EMT with the Durango Fire Protection District.  He has a Master’s Degree in Outdoor Education and is passionate about cross-cultural experiences.