Skinning on Big Mountain Level 2

Big Mountain Level 2 Avalanche Course

  • Duration 4 Days
  • Avalanche Courses

This unique course is a full AIARE Rec Level 2 course, with an added day and a focus on riding bigger terrain and the tools to do it with greater confidence

We will focus on appropriate rope work for the advanced skier/ski mountaineer, as well as advanced tour planning and decision-making. AIARE Level 1 and Companion Rescue courses are require before signing up.

The AIARE Rec 2 avalanche course provides avid backcountry users and leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. The AIARE Rec Level 2 Avalanche Course develops an understanding of snowpack formation and metamorphism. Observation guidelines and recording standards for factors that influence and indicate snowpack stability are presented. Avalanche formation and release are discussed. A stability analysis and forecasting process is introduced.

Students will come away from the course with the following information:

  • Snow Metamorphism
  • Surface Hoar Formation
  • Stability Testing
  • Observation Guidelines
  • Recording Standards
  • Understand the snow metamorphism process and how it relates to backcountry snow stability
  • Understand weak layer formation in the snow pack
  • Understand temperature gradient and its effects on snow
  • Make standardized observations and recordings for weather, snowpack and avalanches
  • Conduct snow testing and interpretation
  • Perform a rescue

This course is designed for those who have an interest in expanding their knowledge and understanding of snow stability and snow stability factors. It is ideal for snow safety and guiding professionals, people interested in these and related careers, and recreational practitioners and group leaders who are looking for advanced knowledge and skills.

Prerequisites: Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE Level 1 Course and Companion Rescue Course are required before taking this course. Practical experience after the Level 1 course is recommended. Please note, this prepares you for advanced travel in the mountains, but the terrain we work in depends on the avalanche danger each day.

Trip Details


4 field days with a classroom or evening Zoom component


Some skiing experience necessary

Maximum Guide Ratio



  • AIARE and AMGA trained/certified guide 
  • Beacon, shovel, and probe (if you have your own you should practice with it!)
  • AIARE field book & student fees

Not Included

  • Personal skiing/riding equipment
  • Technical climbing equipment (see gear list / instructor requirements)
  • Single ride gondola tickets, if needed
  • Lunch/snack food 
  • Guide gratuity¬†

Trip Itinerary

Your instructor will send you an email prior with more information about the course and meeting location.

  • Day 1 – 8:00 am – Combination of classroom and field instruction
  • Day 2 – 8:00 am – Combination of classroom and field instruction
  • Day 3 – 8:00 am – Combination of classroom and field instruction
  • Day 4 – 8:00 am – Combination of classroom and field instruction

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