Who Should Take this Course

The three-day/27-hour AIARE Recreational Level 2 is for those who have taken an AIARE Recreational Level 1 and Avalanche Rescue Course and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The course 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 online resources are scarce. This course focuses upon applying the skills of terrain assessment, group travel and risk mitigation in the field and builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the Level 1. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

The goal of the AIARE Level 1 Course is to introduce avalanche phenomena and to give the knowledge to someone to enable them to be an active participant in a group outing. The AIARE Level 2 course is designed for those who wish to expand their skills and to become the leader and facilitator of a group outing. Participants can expect 8-12  hours of classroom and 12-16 hours of field instruction.

Here is the difference between an AIARE Recreational Level 1 and a Level 2 Recreational Course.

       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, 0r in the absence of, local supporting avalanche information.


  • We will meet the night before at 6.00pm for a zoom session. At this time we will outline the program for the following three days when we see where the best snow and terrain is for the course.
  • Due to COVID-19 SMC will not be organizing carpools. Please make sure your vehicle is equipped for snow travel.


  • We plan to get the classroom work over in an evening and a morning. We will then do one half and two full day trips. We firmly believe that time in the field is the most valuable part of the course so we are adding on the first evening to get the basics out of the way. Yes, this adds time but gives you a better learning experience.
  • By adding that evening we exceed the minimum time requirement of 24 hours. More work for you and the instructors but a better course. And isn’t that what you want?
  • The AAA and AIARE suggests a maximum ratio of 1 instructor: 6 participants for the field sessions.
  • If you want more information on what to look for in avalanche courses we suggest looking at the AIARE website
  • You also need to review the Level I course material. This is available as a link in Resources.
  • Please purchase the following snow study tools prior to your course:
    • Compass with inclinometer or better yet a dedicated slope inclinometer. (Lifelink makes one of these)
    • Altimeter (optional)
    • hand lens and snow crystal card (optional)
  • You can find these online at:
    Wasatch Touring
    Forestry Suppliers
    Backcountry Access
    Mountain Equipment Co-Op

Or perhaps locally at Mammoth Mountaineering Supply or Eastside Sports (call first).