AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course

For advanced backcountry skiers and riders venturing deeper into the backcountry.

AIARE Avalanche EducationThe AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course – Analyzing Snow Stability & Avalanche Hazard is for advanced backcountry skiers and riders, especially those who venture deeper into the backcountry or recreate in areas without a local avalanche bulletin.

The AIARE Level 2 was recently re-designed specifically to meet the needs of advanced recreational students. Based on new guidelines from the American Avalanche Association, there are now separate tracks for recreational and professional avalanche education. You can read more about the split here. If you’ve been deterred in the past from taking a Level 2 because you felt it was a semi-professional course and/or too heavily focused on snow science, now is the time to sign up!

The AIARE Level 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE Level 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. In the classroom, you will learn about mountain weather and key snowpack processes. During field tours you will learn critical snowpack and weather observation skills, advanced terrain management, and tour leadership techniques.

Prerequisites for the course include a previous Level 1 Course. The new Avalanche Rescue Course is also a prerequisite for the Level 2 and is included as the first day of the course. If you’ve already taken an Avalanche Rescue Course since 2017, let us know.

Our nationally recognized instructors and unmatched learning environment (i.e. incredible ski terrain!) will provide the best possible education experience during your AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course. All instructors are AIARE Level 2 Course Instructors and AAA Professional Members, and our Course Leaders are highly recognized in the avalanche profession.

  • Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.
  • Use and interpret weather, snow, and avalanche observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while in the field.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team that include facilitating small group discussion, promoting appropriate terrain selection, and utilizing simple risk management strategies.
  • Implement a basic forecasting framework that can be used in conjunction with and in the absences of local supporting avalanche information.

Day 1 – AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course:

The new Avalanche Rescue Course is a prerequisite for the Level 2 and is included with the course since most participants won’t have taken this program yet. If you’ve taken this course since 2017, let us know!

  • Avalanche Rescue Theory and Techniques
  • Field: Companion Rescue, Multiple Burial Techniques and Scenarios

Day 2 – The Changing Mountain Snowpack:

  • Course Introduction and Outcomes
  • Pre-Course Exercise and Level 1 Review
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Layered Mountain Snowpack
  • Trip Planning Review
  • Field: Snow Profiles and Observational Techniques

Day 3 – Making Quality Observations:

  • Avalanche Formation and Release
  • Interpreting Weather Data, Snow Surface Conditions, and Snow Profiles
  • Craftsmanship, Relevancy, and Verification of Snow Observations
  • Risk Management in Small Groups
  • Field: Targeted Snowpack Observations and Snowpit Tests

Day 4 – Applying Observations to Field Decisions:

  • Trip Planning and Choosing Terrain
  • Traveling in the Field as a Small Team
  • Field: Risk Management & Making Group Decisions
  • Course Close and Debrief
  • Course ends 4:30pm

 Difficulty: Good fitness, previous backcountry ski/snowboard experience

 Duration: 4 days/32 hours

 Meeting Time: 8am

 Meeting Location: Sawtooth Mountain Guides Headquarters in Stanley

 What We Provide:

  • Highly trained, experienced, and professional instructors – all are AIARE Level 2 Instructors and AAA Professional Members
  • AIARE Level 2 Course Manual and Field Notebook
  • Avalanche rescue equipment if needed

 What You Need:

  • Previous Level 1 Avalanche Course – we recommend a season’s experience since your Level 1
  • Alpine touring, telemark, or split-board equipment
  • Backcountry skiing clothing and equipment
  • Review the full equipment list
  • Food and lodging in Stanley. We recommend the Stanley Town Square (same building as class) or  Jerry’s Cabins and Motel

 Why take your avalanche course from Sawtooth Mountain Guides?

  • Experience. We began teaching avalanche courses nearly 30 years ago!
  • Instructors. Our instructors are highly-trained and nationally-recognized avalanche professionals with years of guiding, ski patrolling, and avalanche forecasting experience.
  • AIARE Curriculum. AIARE courses are developed by a nation-wide collaboration of avalanche experts and are professionally reviewed.
  • Unmatched Venue. We offer courses at the Williams Peak Hut, where avalanche terrain right out the door maximizes field time. Courses based in Stanley or Ketchum/Sun Valley benefit from contrasting snow climates within a short distance from classroom locations.
  • Fun: Avalanche education doesn’t need to be dry and boring. Our friendly and engaging instructors will keep things interesting, and our world-class terrain is sure to provide some exciting skiing!

 Dates: February 21-24, 2019

Ratio: 5:1

 Rates: $575/person