Avalanche Course - AIARE Level 2 - Snoqualmie Pass

This Level 2 Avalanche Course provides backcountry travellers the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills by applying them to more complicated terrain and situations.  You will learn to describe and discuss weather, snowpack, and avalanche processes, and identify how they relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.   Upon completion you will receive a Level 2 certificate from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate

Skills Required: Solid intermediate skiing skills or snowshoeing skills. AIARE Level 1 or equivalent highly recommended. Completed AIARE Rescue Course

Fitness Level: Moderately Strenuous

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Instructional
  • Ratio: 6:1,12:2

* Required Fields

The AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE Level 1.  

The AIARE Avalanche Companion Rescuecourse is a prerequisite for the AIARE level 2.  

The Level 2 course provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills by applying their skills to more complicated terrain and situations.  You will learn to make decisions without outside resources (like an avalanche forecast) by learning to appropriately describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.  Successful completion of this course will provide you with a Level 2 certification through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).  

Our instructor pool includes mountain guides trained and certified through the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) or the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and are AIARE certified instructors.  


- 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.


- The 1-day AIARE Companion Rescue course is required. 

- The AIARE Level 1 course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 (American Avalanche Association approved) training is required.

- At least one winter of practical experience traveling in avalanche terrain is required.

- Participants must be proficient at travelling uphill and downhill in avalanche terrain on either alpine ski touring gear (randonee), a splitboard, or snowshoes.  

Difficulty Rating System (Explained Here)

Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate

Skills Required: Solid intermediate skiing skills or snowshoeing skills.

Fitness Level: Moderately Strenuous


Day 1: The Changing Mountain Snowpack

- AIARE 1 Review

- Mountain Weather

- The Layered Mountain Snowpack

- Trip Planning Review

- Snow profiles in the Field

Day 2: Making Quality Observations

- Avalanche Formation and Release

- Interpreting Weather Data, Snow Surface Conditions, and Snow Profiles

- Craftsmanship, Relevancy, and Verification of Snow Observations

- Risk Management in Small Groups

- Snowpack Test in the Field

Day 3: Applying Observations to Field Decisions

- Traveling in the Field as a Small Team

- Field Risk Management and During Action Review

- Communicating Observations to our group, other travelers, and local experts

Sign up for acourse or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental. Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999. The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.

o 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
o 1 Top - midweight or lightweight
o  Sock Liners (if you use them)
o  Ski Socks
o Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
o Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
o Softshell Pants
o Warm Hat - should cover ears
o Sun Hat - baseball type or visor
o Lightweight Gloves
o Ski Gloves
o Day Pack – 25 to 40 Liters
o Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth, hydration system
o Lunch and Snacks - appropriate for a full day
o Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
o Goggles
o Sunscreen - SPF >25, waterproof
o Lip Balm - SPF 15+
o Touring Skis (randonee), Splitboard or Snowshoes
o Touring Ski or snowboard Boots, or winter boots if snowshoeing
o Poles
o Climbing Skins (or Snowshoes) for uphill travel
o Ski Brakes or Removable Ski Leashes
o Ski Crampons - REQUIRED!
o Transceiver - single frequency,  457 kHz only
o Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
o Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice
o Snow Saw - longer saws are better for stability tests
o Basic Snow Study Kit - crystal card, loupe, ruler.  
o  Notebook and Writing Utensil
OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate.
o Dial stem thermometer
o Down or Synthetic Jacket
o Winter Snow Boots - Sorel type
o Thermos - vacuum type
o Compass - adjustable declination a must
o Altimeter - Suunto watch works well
o Map Case - large zip-loc will suffice
o Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
o Technical Group Gear, VHF radio
o Group 1st Aid Kit

What prior qualification do I need for the AIARE Level 2 Course? You should at least have taken the AIARE Level 1 Course or an Equivalent course. It is required that you have taken the single day AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course prior to the start of your AIARE Level 2. 

Should I tip my guide? And how much should I tip them? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.