This 4-day Course is the Next Step in Your Avalanche Education for the Aspiring Snow Professional.

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 2018 AIARE Level 2 course will be held in Mazama, WA.  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

Avalanche Course




  • Washington Pass Climbing
  • Multipitch Climbing Course

A NOTE ABOUT EQUIPMENT LISTS: Nothing can ruin a trip faster than having the wrong gear for the conditions at hand.  All our programs are subject to rapid and severe changes in the weather.  Select garments that are warm, lightweight and durable.  Generally speaking, the best arrangement is to think in terms of layers – a system that dries quickly, allow flexibility and resists wind, water and abrasion. All of us have different tolerances for heat or cold; for example, you might choose warmer gloves than specified here if you tend to get cold hands. If you have doubts about a specific garment’s appropriateness, please talk to your guide in advance about conditions you are most likely to experience. This list is built for a trip with an unsettled weather forecast.  With a good weather forecast some of these items may be left behind to save weight. All trips require that you bring adequate food and water, please see our “food” equipment list for details.


Head, Hands & Feet

  • Warm Hat
  • Sun Hat
  • Lightweight Gloves (or belay gloves)
  • Approach Shoes (sticky rubber soles recommended)

Upper Body Layers

  • Lightweight Base Layer Top or Sunshirt
  • Lightweight Fleece jacket
  • Softshell Jacket with Hood
  • Insulated (“Puffy”) Jacket with Hood

Lower Body Layers

  • Softshell Pants
  • Optional: shorts for the approach hike

Options Layers for colder or wetter weather

  • Hardshell Jacket
  • Lightweight rain pants


  • Backpack (25-35 Liters)
  • Optional: on-route pack (a very small pack for your essentials on route)
  • Sunglasses
  • Trekking Poles

ACCESSORIES continued…

  • Sunscreen and spf lip balm
  • Water & Food (see our food  guide)
  • Headlamp
  • Blister Kit
  • Optional: Crack Gloves (for routes with lots of crack climbing)


  • Climbing Helmet
  • Climbing Harness
  • Belay Device
  • 2 Locking Carabiners
  • Double Length Nylon or Dyneema Runner (or personal anchor system -- NO daisy chains)

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT – SPRING (snow travel; please ask your guide about current conditions)

  • Mountain Boots (crampon compatible)
  • Steel crampons
  • Ice Axe


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