This 3-day Course is the Next Step in Your Avalanche Education for experienced backcountry travelers.

The AIARE 2 is for those who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The AIARE 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills.

The AIARE 2 is a three-day/24-hour course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision-making skills in more complicated situations such as being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan where resources are scarce.

The AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • 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
AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course
Program Details

Course cost includes student manual, AIARE field book, use of avalanche safety equipment, snowmobile transport (with fee), instruction, and guiding.

The AIARE Level 2 course is held in both Mazama, WA and at Stevens pass. In Mazama, the course will use snowmobiles to access the higher elevation terrain near Washington Pass.

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course

Day 1 AIARE Rescue Course -- This day will be focused on Rescue training. If you have had this training in the last year then you can opt out of this day and this will also reduce the cost of the class by $150.

Day 2 will begin indoors with a study of the mountain weather and snowpack metamorphism. By mid-morning, we will move outdoors and do a short tour focused on learning the observation skills for field weather, weather station observations and a full snow profile.  We will return to the classroom to learn the skills necessary for graphing snow profiles, both manually and with the aid of computers. 

Day 3 will begin with a short indoor section on the formation of surface hoar and the faceting process. We will then head into the field to learn and practice test profiles, large column tests and how to make observations while moving through terrain. We will return to the classroom for a wrap-up and learn the use of the PM stability analysis form. 

Day 4 will begin with a short indoor section on risk management and the use of run lists. We will then head out on an information gathering tour where we will apply all of the skills of the previous 3 days. This will involve managing our group through avalanche terrain as well as taking targeted observations in specific locations in the terrain. We will finish up in the classroom with a course close and time for evaluations.   

Gear List
AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course
Skills Required

Participants should have successfully completed an AIARE level 1 or equivalent course.

Participants should be of intermediate or advanced skiing ability on telemark, alpine touring or snowboarding gear. Backcountry travel will require the use of skins for skis and splitboards for snowboarders.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own beacon for use in the course, though NCMG will have Backcountry Access beacons, shovels, and probes available for use throughout the program. Be prepared to be outside regardless of the weather conditions. All participants will be required to sign a release form at the start of the course. 

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course