AIARE Level 2: Analyzing Snow Stability and Avalanche Hazard

IDCourse NameLocationTimeDate
2017-2AIARE Level TwoMount Rose Ski Tahoe8:00am - 5:00pmCanceled

Cost: $375.00

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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 course 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.


  • Instructional Sessions (40 hours including both class and field)

    • Level 1 Review
    • Energy balance, the mountain snowpack and metamorphism
    • Faceting; near surface and near crust faceting
    • Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers
    • Skier Triggering: theory and observations
    • 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
    • Information gathering - Site selection and relevancy - Spatial variability - Slope tests
    • Companion Rescue - Level 1 techniques review - Multiple burial - Shovel techniques
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Personal Equipment:
    • 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 Pack
    • Personal Skiing, Snowboarding, or Snowshoeing equipment.
    Additional Equipment:
    • Snow saw or folding pruning saw (approx. 40cm blade). Longer folding saws available from Brooks-Range Mountaineering.
    • Snow thermometer (graduated in degrees Celsius). Dial stem and/or glass/alcohol types are commonly used. Electronic thermometers are acceptable but have limitations for snow profile work. NOTE: If you bring thermometers calibrated in degrees Fahrenheit, you will be required to purchase or borrow a Celsius thermometer.
    • Crystal identification screen. Dark color, metal screen is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
    • Magnifier (8x or 10x RECOMMENDED).
    • Folding rule (graduated in centimetres required. 2 metre length).
    • Clinometer