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Women’s AIARE 2 Avalanche

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

Price per person

$645 Mid-Week, $745 Weekend
  • Next Available: Jan 20, 2023 - Jan 22, 2023

About this trip

The Level 2 Avalanche course is designed to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who are looking to advance their decision-making skills in more complex terrain and situations. This all-women's course, led by our awesome female guides, will provide a unique and supportive environment for learning and progressing in your backcountry endeavors. This is an intermediate level backcountry course- please see the preparation section before reserving.

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    3 days

This Course

The Women’s 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 women 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

      • 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: Fischer Transalp Pro or Transalp Tour WS

      • Ski/Splitboard Crampons

        While these are optional, they are strongly recommended by our guides. These will be used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer. Recommended: Dynafit Ski Crampons

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

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

      • 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

      • 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: Fischer Hannibal 106 Skis Recommended Bindings: Dynafit Speed Radical

      • 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

      • Backcountry Touring Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 30 and 40 liters and is designed to carry skis or a splitboard. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Recommended: Black Diamond Cirque 35 or 45 Pack

      • 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

      • Avalanche Transceiver

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

      • 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

      • Apparel

      • HARD SHELL PANTS

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants  

      • 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: Patagonia Capilene® Midweight Zip-Neck

      • 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: Eddie Bauer Guide Midweight Baselayer Pants

      • 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 Seamless Short-Sleeve Crew T-Shirt

      • 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: The North Face A-CAD FUTURELIGHT™ Jacket

      • 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 High Route Grid Fleece 1/4-Zip

      • Ski Socks

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

      • 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

      • Accessories

      • 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

      • Blue AEX 5-Panel

        The perfect hat for warm days on the move. This hat is a lightweight construction and provides ample ventilation to keep your head cool and your face shaded. Leather patch on the front with our classic Alpenglow Expeditions logo. Simple and stylish. Our summer guide's favorite piece of headwear!

        $25.00
      • 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

      • Ski Helmet

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

      • Two 1L Nalgene Bottles

        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

    • 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.

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

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 Mincey

A native of Chicago, Tim grew up barely knowing that mountains existed, much less that you could climb or ski them for fun. But as an engineering student at Stanford, he managed to fall in love with snowboarding, and after college he made the move to Tahoe to ride full-time as a snowboard instructor. Once in Tahoe, Tim couldn’t wait to dive into backcountry splitboarding and rock climbing, and he is perpetually trying to make up for his late start in the mountains by climbing and snowboarding as much as possible. Tim has guided throughout California since 2011, and has a hard time imagining that he’ll ever tire of showing off the beauty of the Sierra Nevada.

He is an AMGA Certified Rock and Splitboard Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, and Single Pitch Instructor, as well as an AIARE Course Leader and AASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his wife, Beth, their daughter, Cora, and their Mini Australian Shepherd, Pika.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Rich Meyer

Rich has been guiding professionally for over twenty years.  His work has varied from single day backcountry ski tours in Tahoe, to ski expeditions from Alaska to Antarctica.  Rich has been lucky enough to guide, travel, ski, and summit peaks in places such as:  Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Alaska, and Antarctica.  As well as scores of Mt. Shasta & Sierra Nevada summits. Promoting the human powered outdoor experience is a big part of Rich’s passion and work, both locally and nationally.  He feels strongly that protecting our natural environment and educating skiers and climbers about our winter wild places has to be a priority.

Rich is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski 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

Sydney Paez Duncan

Skiing is just part of life growing up in Colorado, so naturally, Sydney has been in love with skiing since she was 3-years-old. At 18 she started her guiding career as a raft guide and became enamored with working in the outdoors.  For years she honed her backcountry skiing skills in France, Idaho, Colorado, and Tahoe, and she is so happy to be able to share her love for human-powered turns with others.  Sydney has worked at Squaw Valley on Ski Patrol for 4 seasons and guiding was a natural progression.  Recently, she was accepted to the AMGA’s Ski Guide track and she is on the path to becoming a certified Ski Guide. Once the skiing dries up in the summers, you can find Sydney guiding trips in the Cascades.

Sydney is an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide.

Isaac Laredo

Isaac found his appreciation for the outdoors growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Isaac attended Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe where his appreciation  evolved into a lifelong passion. The scenery, accessibility, and culture of the surrounding mountains captivated Isaac to major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Environmental Science and Outdoor Adventure Leadership at Sierra Nevada College. Here he was inspired by his teachers and peers to facilitate the creation of special moments in the outdoors. As one of his mentors say “special moments happen, we just have to show up for them”. These special moments have been responsible for lots of personal growth for himself and those around him. He has experienced the power of the outdoors first hand and looks forward to life long learning in the mountains through climbing and skiing.
Isaac is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, AMGA Apprentice Ski and Rock Guide, Wilderness First Responder, and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Ali Agee

Growing up just outside Lake Tahoe in Reno, skiing has been keeping Ali motivated her whole life. As she grew older and gained more appreciation for moving through the mountains, whether it be on skis or via long alpine rock routes, the journey toward becoming a ski guide has only been a natural progression.

On this journey, she’s had the opportunity to ski and rock climb in multiple venues including the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Tetons, Japan, Canada, and beyond.

Ali has experienced firsthand the transformative powers that guided trips can have on someone looking to break through comfort zone barriers. She is passionate about sharing similar soul-filling, life-changing experiences with others.

Ali is currently an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, Certified Single Pitch Instructor, AIARE Avalanche Instructor, Pro 2 Avalanche Professional, Wilderness First Responder, mountain biker, and type-two fun seeker living in Truckee, CA.

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    Women's AIARE 2 Avalanche

Women’s AIARE 2 Avalanche

The Level 2 Avalanche course is designed to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who are looking to advance their decision-making skills in more complex terrain and situations. This all-women's course, led by our awesome female guides, will provide a unique and supportive environment for learning and progressing in your backcountry endeavors. This is an intermediate level backcountry course- please see the preparation section before reserving.