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.
- Clothing for activities and standing in cold/snowy weather (no cotton)
- long underwear
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
- Personal Skiing, Snowboarding, or Snowshoeing 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).