Accomodation and meals available here for $100/night.
or custom programs at any time.
The AAA and AIARE suggests a maximum ratio of 1 instructor: 8 participants for the field sessions.
Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain on either backcountry or alpine touring skis. Snowshoes are discouraged on this course An AIARE Level 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent training/experience is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is recommended before taking the Level 2 course.
The course is not particularly physical but you will need to be able to be out all day in a range of weather conditions traveling short distances on moderate slopes angles.
Price includes instruction, loan of avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes, and a syllabus. Local accommodation is not included.
The Level Two course is a 4-day program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills as it build from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the level one and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation. While the Level I course focuses upon field techniques to answer the question “how stable is this snowpack?” the Level II course gets to the question of “Why is the snowpack stable or unstable?” and develops an understanding of snowpack formation, metamorphism, avalanche formation and release. This is an introductory snow science course and we also introduce the observation guidelines and recording standards for factors that influence and indicate snowpack stability as well as a process for stability analysis and forecasting.
This course is designed for those who have an interest in expanding their knowledge and understanding of snow stability and snow stability factors and it also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the Level Three.
It is ideal for snow safety and guiding professionals, people interested in these and related careers, and recreational practitioners who are looking for advanced knowledge and skills.
Participants can expect 12 -15 hours of classroom and 20 -24 hours of field instruction in the following subjects:
• Level 1 Review
• Energy balance, the mountain snowpack and metamorphism
• Faceting; near surface and near crust faceting
• Formation of surface hoar and persistent weak layers
• Skier Triggering: theory and observations
• International and national snow, weather and avalanche observation and recording guidelines (SWAG).
• Stability analysis checklist: reviewing critical factors
• Trip Planning and hazard forecasting for avalanche terrain.
• Terrain selection and route finding
• Information gathering
• Companion Rescue
This course fulfills the requirements of the AAA (American Avalanche Association ) for a Level II course. Note: the length of a Level II course has been extended to four days from the three days of previous years. The course uses the curriculum and standards developed by AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education).
The first three days will start with classroom session in the mornings and then the afternoon in the field
All of day four will be spent in the field undertaking a short tour putting all of the theory into practice and we intend to complete the day by about 4.00pm.
For the morning class room work we use the Rock Creek Lodge between Mammoth and Bishop. Lodging is also available here as well. We will use the snow right out the door of the Lodge but may also travel to where the most interesting snow conditions are to be found. If we do travel we will facilitate car pools to the snow but you should make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter travel.
Lodging is not included, but we have an arrangement for lodging at Rock Creek Lodge. Let us know if you want the lodging option and we'll help you make the reservation. The Lodge is a two mile ski in from the roadhead so unless you are uberfit and can do this daily then staying at the Lodge is the best course of action.
If you want more information on what to look for in avalanche courses we suggest looking at the AIARE website at http://www.avtraining.org
You also need to review the Level I course material. This is available as a link to the left. There will be an initial questionaire/test at the start of the program.
SMC will provide the following books and reading material.
• an AIARE field notebook
• a SWAG handbook
• an AIARE Level 2 Handook
The Avalanche Handbook, McLung and Schaerer 3rd edition is also to be considered to be an the classroom text for the course and everyone should have one. We do not provide it, but get one and bring it.
Available from Amazon or locally at Mammoth Mountaineering Supply or Wilson’s Eastside Sports.
You are expected to have a snow study kit that includes the following.
• Write in the rain notebook #311 or #313. We include the AIARE notebook as part of the course.
• Magnifier (8x or 10x recommended).
• Snow thermometer. (graduated in degrees Celsius). Dial stem and/or glass/alcohol types are commonly used. Electronic thermometers are acceptable but have limitations for snow profile work.
• Folding ruler. Graduated in centimetres. 2 metre long). We like the Winter Engineering one from Wasatch Touring.
• Crystal identification screen. Dark color, metal screen is recommended. (LifeLink makes these)
• Snow saw for bonding tests.
• Compass with inclinometer or better yet a
• Slope inclinometer if your compass doesn’t have one. (Lifelink makes one of these).
• Altimeter (Optional)
What is AIARE?
Until recently there was no nationally recognized curriculum for avalanche education in the USA. There are many avalanche courses and programs available but in large part, course providers operate according to their own personal beliefs and ideas. There are few means for the public to assess the quality of an avalanche course or instructor. AIARE was formed to address this situation and has a curriculum that has become nationally accepted. We strongly support this program and believe that it is one of the best things for avalanche education to come along.