AIARE 2 Avalanche Course

3 days in California, Lake Tahoe / (Skill level: Intermediate)

Price per person

$645 Mid-Week, $725 Weekend
  • Next Available: Dec 17, 2021 - Dec 19, 2021
  • Upcoming: Jan 22, 2022 - Jan 24, 2022
  • Feb 25, 2022 - Feb 27, 2022

About this trip

Historically the Level 2 Avalanche Course has been the entry-level professional course for ski guides, patrollers and forecasters. In the past couple of years, the course has been redesigned to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who are looking to advance their decision-making skills in more complex terrain and situations. This is an intermediate level backcountry course, please see the preparation section before reserving.  

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    3 days

This Course

The AIARE 2 is a three-day/24-hour course that provides skiers and riders 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 touring in an area without an avalanche forecasting center. You were introduced to the AIARE Framework in your Level 1 course. The AIARE 2 course takes the Framework and teaches you to apply it to these more complicated situations with the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

Who Should Take This Course

This course is for those who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The AIARE 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. It’s imperative to have a good grasp of the concepts introduced in the AIARE 1 and rescue courses, and experience applying them, before taking this course.

Skiers/riders should be advanced intermediate in skill level, meaning competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions, and confident on all blue runs and most black diamond runs in the resort (including ungroomed terrain).

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 and in the absences of local supporting avalanche information.

Prerequisites

  •  Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain.
  • An AIARE 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required.
  • A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is highly recommended before taking the AIARE 2 course. (BC 1.0 + 5-10 days of touring experience, or 10+ days of individual touring experience required)
  • AIARE or AAA approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.

If you have taken an AIARE 1 course, the new 1 day rescue course, feel comfortable with the curriculum and are hungry to increase your understanding of hazard management in avalanche terrain, this course is for you!

Preparation

  • Prerequisites

    Students must have taken an AIARE 1 course as well as the new AIARE 1 day rescue course to qualify for this course.

    BC 1.0 + 5-10 days of touring experience OR 10+ days of individual touring experience is also required.

  • Technical Experience

    Must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider that is competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions. This is comparable to confidence on all blue and most black diamond runs at the resort (including ungroomed terrain).

  • Fitness

    Excellent physical fitness is required. Skiers must be able to hike for many hours at a time while carrying a small pack.

    • Field Day 1 — Review and Practice

      8:00am: Meet at trailhead, rental gear check out, hand out AIARE field books
      8:00am – 8:30am: Morning hazard assessment meeting / trailhead transceiver function check
      8:30am – 11:30am: Companion rescue review and practice (Single and Multiple Burial)
      11:30am – 12:00pm: Transition to instructor led tour to gather snpx obs.
      12:00pm – 3:30pm: Instructor demo; Review of Seasonal Snowpack; Craftsmanship, Relevancy, and Verification of Snow Observations; Snowpack Tests in the Field.
      3:30pm – 4:00pm: Debrief observations in the field and return to trailhead. Post observations to local avalanche center

    • Field Day 2 — Making Quality Observations

      8:00am: Meet at trailhead
      8:00am – 8:15am: Instructor/student-led morning hazard discussion (avalanches, snowpack, weather)
      8:15am – 8:30am: Student-led trailhead transceiver function check
      9:00am – 2:00pm: Instructor/student-led tour: track setting, terrain identification, snow profile (site selection; layer id; hardness scale; grain id; tests); snowpack structure; interpreting weather data, snow surface conditions, and snow profiles; metamorphism, sintering and bonding, persistent weak layers / facets, nsf, ncf, surface hoar
      2:00pm – 2:30pm: Debrief observations in the field
      2:30pm – 3:30pm: Return to trailhead
      3:30pm – 4:00pm: Summarize conditions and post to local avalanche center. Tour Planning homework

    • Field Day 3 — Applying Observations to Field Decisions

      8:00am – 8:15am: Student-led morning hazard discussion (avalanches, snowpack, weather).
      Review tour plan options from night before
      8:15am – 8:30am: Student-led trailhead transceiver function check
      9:00am – 2:00pm: Student-led tour: verify stability forecast; group management / terrain selection / travel techniques
      2:00pm – 2:30pm: Debrief observations in the field
      2:30pm – 3:30pm: Return to trailhead
      3:30pm – 4:00pm: Summarize conditions and post to local avalanche center. Course conclusion, collect rental gear and next steps.

      • Ski/ Splitboard Equipment

      • Splitboard

        A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions. Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard

      • Splitboard Bindings

        Splitboard bindings are required for uphill travel. Be sure to adjust the straps to your boots before using. Recommended: Spark R&D Arc Bindings

      • Snowboard Boots

        The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they're comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots! Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

        Adjustable ski poles with powder baskets. Recommended: Black Diamond Expedition 2 or Expedition 3 Poles

      • Skis w/ Touring Bindings

        A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions. Recommended Skis: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis Recommended Bindings: Dynafit Speed Radical

      • Ski Touring Boots

        These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains! Recommended: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro or Zero G Tour Scout

      • Skins

        Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred. Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS

      • Probe

        A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm. Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Tour Probe 280

      • Shovel

        A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended. Recommended: Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Backpack 25-35L

        Internal frame pack that is between 25 and 35 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 35L Pack

      • Apparel

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended:Eddie Bauer BC Duraweave Alpine Pants

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Heavyweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Ski Socks

        Your everyday ski sock, good for ski tours and day hikes. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Merino Wool Ski Socks

      • Accessories

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Slouch Beanie

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Julbo Shield

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O MAG

      • Ski Helmet

        A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old. Recommended: Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet 

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • Would you consider organizing a custom AIARE 2 Avalanche course for me and my group?

      Absolutely. We love putting together custom courses. Call or email us to begin planning your custom AIARE 2 Avalanche course today.

    • I took an AIARE 1 course a couple years ago. Can I take this? course?

      In addition to taking an AIARE 1, students must have completed the new 1 day Avalanche Rescue course as well. We will have numerous courses offered throughout the winter.

    • Is lunch included on the trip?

      Lunch is not included on the trip. We recommend packing a sack lunch and plenty of water.

    • What gear should I bring?

      In general, your gear for the day will be very similar to a day of skiing in the resort, but here are a few key pieces that are unique to the backcountry and crucial for the day –

      A hat and pair of sunglasses (These come in handy on the hike up)

      Sunscreen

      Water and snacks (Our guides recommend between 1-2L of water depending on your intake)

      Lighter, more breathable layer options than a typical resort layering system. An additional light pair of gloves is preferred for uphill travel

      Ski poles with powder baskets, or a pair of collapsable poles for splitboarding. (We have these available at no extra charge if you need them)

      A backpack, and any avalanche rescue gear you may own. (Our guides recommend packs around 20-30L)

      Avalanche Rescue Equipment (Beacon, shovel, probe)

      **Please give us a call if you have any questions about what to bring, or if your gear will be appropriate for the day.

    • I need to rent gear, what information should I provide in advance?

      We have an excellent selection of backcountry ski gear available to rent. We offer top of the line equipment from Blizzard Skis, Technica Boots, Jones Snowboards, and Black Diamond. Many of our guides use the same gear available in our demo fleet. If you have any gear or sizing questions, we would be more than happy to get you situated to ensure you get the most out of your day in the mountains.

      A/T Skis

      We can offer touring specific skis from Blizzard, a personal favorite for our mountain guides. We have skis available for both females and males. We have sizes available in 164cm,  171cm, 178cm, and 185cm.

      Splitboards

      We have Jones Splitboards available to rent in sizes 145cm, 152cm, 160cm, 161cm, 162cm, and 164cm) Please let us know your stance/binding angle preferences if you are planning to rent a splitboard setup.

      A/T Ski Boots

      Alpine touring ski boots from Technica Boots are available to rent. Sizes range from 23.5 to 29.5 in both genders.

      Avalanche Equipment

      Avalanche gear is mandatory for all peoples traveling in alpine terrain. If you do not already own gear, we offer a beacon, shovel, probe setup available to rent for $25/day.

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Jules Hanna

If you are looking for an AMGA Splitboard guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.

In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Ben Weaver

Ben comes to guiding after being a professional ski patroller for several years. Three of those seasons were spent working as part of the snow safety department at Mt. Hood Meadows.  Ben is now in his fourth winter season with Alpenglow Expeditions here in Squaw Valley.   He is a professional member of the AMGA, has his AIARE level 3 certification and is also an AIARE Course Leader. After successful completion of the Aspirant ski course/exam he is an AMGA Assistant ski guide and will be participating in the AMGA Alpine Guide Course later this spring.  Ben has spent three spring climbing seasons in Alaska volunteering with the National Park Service climbing rangers on Denali.   He is a Board Member of the Denali Rescue Volunteers organization and will be back on Denali this coming May.  He has skied in the Western US, Alaska, Canada, and two seasons in Chamonix & La Grave.   Ben has a Master’s Degree in Anesthesia and he works as a CRNA in the summer.  Ben lives here in the Tahoe area with his lovely wife Katie and their two dogs, Roscoe & Murdock.

What others are saying about this trip

Expedition Inquiry Form

  • Have questions about this trip?

    AIARE 2 Avalanche Course

AIARE 2 Avalanche Course

Historically the Level 2 Avalanche Course has been the entry-level professional course for ski guides, patrollers and forecasters. In the past couple of years, the course has been redesigned to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who are looking to advance their decision-making skills in more complex terrain and situations. This is an intermediate level backcountry course, please see the preparation section before reserving.