Big Mountain Recreational Level 2 Avalanche Course Gear List

Skiing Equipment 

  • AT Boots 
  • Skis with touring alpine bindings or telemark bindings (please adjust bindings to boots and skins to skis before the course) 
  • Skins that fit your skis (pre-cut) 
  • Telescoping Poles 

Snowboarding Equipment 

  • Splitboard with touring bindings and skins (please adjust bindings to boots and skins to board  before the course) 
  • Snowboard boots  
  • Collapsible poles (with means of attachment to pack) 

Avalanche Rescue Equipment (provided if you don’t have your own!) 

  • Avalanche probe 
  • Collapsible shovel 
  • Avalanche transceiver (digital 457 kHz frequency only) three antenna transceivers are preferred 


  • Ski socks 
  • Warm hat and/or Helmet 
  • Wool or Synthetic Base Layer (top + bottom) 
  • Mid-weight / breathable insulating layer 
  • Hardshell or softshell ski/snowboard pants 
  • Hardshell (waterproof + breathable) jacket 
  • Larger weight (i.e. 800 fill) ‘security’ puffy (down or synthetic) 
  • Gloves (two pairs are best – a lighter pair for going up, & a warmer pair) 

Misc Items 

  • Sunglasses and/or Goggles 
  • Ski or Climbing helmet
  • Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof 
  • Personal first-aid / repair kit 
  • Camera or Smartphone 
  • Headlamp 
  • Water bottle (at least 1 liter); *we do not advise Camelbacks 
  • Lunch/Snack food 
  • Cell phone or two-way radio / BCA link (optional) 
  • Ski Backpack (large enough to fit all gear INSIDE; we can provide you one if needed!) 
  • Snow Study Kit (snow saw, crystal card, magnifying lens, ECT cord, etc.) 
  • Pencils (two, mechanical) 

Snow Study Equipment

  • Snow saw: A 35 cm blade handles all of the requirements of snowpack tests. (Very sharp blade teeth can have the dual purpose of a survival tool but can potentially damage packs and clothing and require more attention to storage).
  • Thermometers (0C): There are three types of thermometers that are acceptable: dial stem, digital, and alcohol. Have an extra battery in your field kit if you use a digital. Have a small piece of p-cord to hang thermometers in the shade for measuring air temperature. For most avalanche snow observations you need no more than 2 thermometers. If you carry multiple thermometers make sure they are the same type and model for measurement consistency.
  • Crystal screen: A card with a measurement grid is necessary for observing snow grains. Metal screens transfer heat much faster than plastic and can be challenging to use when air or snow temperatures are warmer than -5 C. 
  • Magnifier: A reasonable quality magnifying loupe or hand lens is required for observing snow grains. (A loupe or hand lens should be no less powerful than 10x and no more than 20x). 
  • Folding ruler: A 2-meter plastic folding ruler. (Inexpensive ones typically have short lives; they flex and often break easily when extended. Ideal examples include ones from a ruler manufacturer (e.g. Rigdid model # 1602).
  • Accessory cord: A length of 4-7 mm diameter accessory cord is used for cutting out column tests larger than 30 x 30 cm. Overhand knots tied every 20-30 cm can help to effectively cut the walls. You can place washers at the knot for more effective cutting. A dedicated Rutschblock wire (G3 or Brooks Range) is preferred.

Technical Equipment

  • Lightweight harness 
  • 3x locking carabiners
  • 2x non-locking carabiners
  • 1 belay/ rappel device
  • 1x 48” sewn runner
  • 4’ of 5-6mm. cord (or adequate anchor material)
  • 1x “Hollow Block” cord or friction hitch

*Snowmetrics & Brooks Range are great resources to purchase high quality professional snow observation tools.

*CRIPPLE CREEK has a nice selection of snow study kits that include all of these tools, as well.

**your guide(s) will carry a First Aid Kit, repair kit & rescue equipment