Thank you for choosing Sawtooth Mountain Guides for your avalanche course! This page will help you prepare and get the most from your course. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

For the 2023-24 Winter season, avalanche courses will include 5-7 hours of pre-course learning. Students will meet with their instructor each morning for a classroom session before heading into the field. Here are some important details on how our courses will roll out:

  2024 AIARE Level 2 Course Schedule

  • We will not be offering hut-based courses.
  • Participants coming from out of the area are recommended to find lodging in Stanley. Wood River Valley (i.e. Ketchum, Hailey) residents will not need to come to Stanley.
  • The tentative course schedule (see above) is primarily field – based combined with online learning. A month prior to your course you will receive an email from Sawtooth Mountain Guides with information on how to access the pre-course learning. Please make sure to do this learning prior to attending your course.
  • Due to the additional time spent in the field, participants are encouraged to dress warmer than normal.

Forms & Paperwork

  Did you complete our online Client Information and Acknowledgment of Risk?


  Equipment List

Some notes on gear:

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, or a splitboard setup are required.
  • Please make sure your equipment is in good working order and you are familiar with its operation. Instructors are always happy to offer tips for using your equipment, but time during an avalanche course is limited.
  • We require a modern, minimum 3-antenna transceiver.
  • Make sure your avalanche transceiver has fresh batteries and that you know how to assemble your shovel and probe.
  • We recommend purchasing an inclinometer and snow saw – you will find these very helpful!


For winter 2023-24 courses, please refer to the details at the top of this page and review the tentative course schedule. Prior to your course please look for emails from us with any updates to the course schedule and information on how to access the pre-course learning.

Some notes on logistics:

  • Each day will begin with a classroom session before heading into the field.
  • Please be dressed to head outdoors for classroom meetings in order to streamline the transition to the field session each day.
  • The course does not include food or lodging. Days typically run from 8am to 6pm.
  • There are a few restaurants open in Stanley during the winter.
  • Suggested lodging:

Course Material

We supply a waterproof Field book at the start of the course. Please make sure to complete the pre-course learning prior to the course, this includes great information and resources to help you get the most out of your course.

Pre-Course Study

Information on Pre-Course learning, which we strongly encourage students to complete prior to coming to the course, will be emailed to you roughly a month prior to your course.

Practice, review and be familiar with the AIARE field book. Please review content in the reference page sections, as well as, being familiar with the daily tour planning pages.

Weather & Conditions

Our weather and conditions page has links to local weather stations, webcams, and weather forecasts.

  Sawtooth Mountain Guides Weather & Conditions Page

Terrain Maps

If you wish to preview and familiarize yourself with the terrain used during the field sessions, you can download the following topo maps:

  Avenza Mapping Mobile App will be used on the course. Available for free on iOS and Android.
  Galena Summit Map (Stanley Courses)
  Banner Summit Map (Stanley Courses)

Recommended Reading

  Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper

  Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines (SWAG) – View online at the American Avalanche Association

  The Human Factor online series by Powder Magazine
  Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek by the New York Times
  Avalanche Danger Scale Video by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center
  Avalanche Problem Type Definitions by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center
  Avalanche Problem Video by the Forest Service National Avalanche Center

Course Evaluation

We are passionate about providing the best avalanche course possible and are always striving to improve. At the end of your course, please complete our online course evaluation and offer any feedback you believe will help create a better course.

  Online Course Evaluation