AIARE Level 2 Description

Level 2 Avalanche Course

Course Description:

Student prerequisites: Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE Level 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent training/experience is required.


At the completion of AIARE Level 2 students should be able to:

  • Have an advanced understanding of avalanche terrain, particularly from the perspective of stability analysis
  • Discuss how the snowpack develops and metamorphosis overtime; discusses 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)

1. Level 1 review
2. Energy balance, the mountain snowpack and metamorphism
3. Faceting: near surface and near crust faceting
4. Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers
5. Skier triggering; theory and observations
6. 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

7. Stability analysis checklist; reviewing critical factors

  • Stability ratings
  • Daily stability forecasts and analysis

8. Trip planning and hazard forecasting for avalanche terrain

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

9. Terrain selection and route finding

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

10. Information gathering

  • Site selection and relevancy, spatial variability and slope tests

11. Companion Rescue

  • Level 1 techniques review, multiple burials and shovel techniques

Level 1 Course Equipment List:


  • Clothing for activities and standing in cold/snowy weather (no cotton)
  • Long underwear
  • Insulating layers
  • Outer layer (wind/waterproof)
  • Warm gloves, mitts, headband, and hat
  • Goggles and sunglasses
  • Small personal first aid kit (sunscreen/lip-balm, moleskin, band-aids, medication, etc.)
  • Water Bottle


  • Boots (touring boots recommended)
  • Skis with touring binding and skins, randonee or free-heel gear or split-board with skins. (Snowshoes are not allowed for snowboarders on this course)
  • Collapsible poles


  • Avalanche probe
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Avalanche transceiver (457 KHZ frequency only)
  • Cell phone or two way radio (optional)


  • Avalanche Handbook – Available through or
  • Snow saw (approximately 40cm in blade)
  • Snow Study Kit – including crystal identification card, magnifier (8x x 10x Recommended), folding rule (graduated in centimeters – 2 meters length), thermometer (graduated in degrees Celsius), pencil and a spare. These pre-packages kits can be purchased through or


  • AIARE Level 1 review quiz
  • AIARE Field Book