Avalanche – Level 2


The Level 2 course is a 4 Day program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. This course also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the Level 3 certificate.

The Level 2 builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the Level One and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation.



Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE Level 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent training/experience is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is recommended before taking the Level 2 course.

Equipment List

Required equipment for all Avalanche Courses is provided on our Equipment List page.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Advance understanding of avalanche terrain, particularly from the perspective of stability analysis.
  • Discuss how the snowpack develops and metamorphoses over time; and discuss the factors that contribute to spatial variability.
  • Learn standard observation guidelines and recording formats for factors that influence or indicate snow stability. SWAG MODULE.
  • Advance understanding of avalanche release and triggering mechanisms.
  • Introduce a snow stability analysis and forecasting framework.
  • Improve companion rescue skills including multiple and deep burials.
Instructional Sessions

40 Hours including both Class and Field Instruction

Energy Balance

The mountain snowpack and metamorphism


Near surface and near crust faceting

Surface Hoar

Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers

Skier Triggering

Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers

Information gathering

  • Site selection and relevancy
  • Spatial variability
  • Slope tests

Companion Rescue

  • Level 1 techniques review
  • Multiple burial
  • Shovel techniques

International and national snow, weather and avalanche observation and recording guidelines (SWAG)

  • Weather; interpreting forecasts, recording and observation techniques
  • Snow profile techniques and bonding tests
  • Avalanche observations and recording techniques
  • Stability analysis checklist: reviewing critical factors
  • Stability ratings
  • Daily stability forecasts and analysis

Trip Planning and hazard forecasting for avalanche terrain.

  • The avalanche danger ratings
  • Terrain analysis using maps/photos
  • Forecasting stability and variability

Terrain selection and route finding

  • Group management and hazard management
  • Decision making
  • Human factors

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