Aspen | Colorado

AIARE Avalanche Level 2 in Aspen

Skill level


Group size

1 – 4 people

The AIARE Avalanche Level 2 course is designed for those who have an interest in expanding their knowledge and understanding of snow stability and snow stability factors. The material 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. Also, it’s in Apsen, Colorado, which makes for a stunning classroom.

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is the  standard that  informs your curriculum.

The AIARE 2 Avalanche course is a 3-day program providing avid backcountry users and leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. Participants will develop an understanding of snowpack formation and metamorphism. We’ll also go over observation guidelines and recording standards for factors influencing and indicating snowpack.

During the course you can count on learning
  • Avalanche formation and release
  • A stability analysis and forecasting processes
  • Snow Metamorphism
  • Surface Hoar Formation
  • Stability Testing
  • Observation Guidelines
  • Recording Standards
  • The snow metamorphism process and how it relates to backcountry snow stability
  • Weak layer formation in the snow pack
  • Temperature gradients and their effects on snow
  • How to make standardized observations and recordings for weather, snowpack and avalanches
  • Snow testing and interpretation
  • How to perform a rescue

Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. AIARE Level 1 Course and Avalanche Rescue Course are required, or equivalent training/experience.

Itinerary for the class
  • First Day: 8:00am – 6:00pm classroom instruction
  • Second Day: 8:00am – 6:00pm combination classroom and field instruction
  • Third Day: 8:00am – 6:00pm combination classroom and field instruction
Other things you should know

You will be provided with a pack with a probe, shovel and avalanche beacon. If you need alpine touring ski equipment (AT skis, skins, boots) we can arrange to set you up at Aspen Highlands shop or the night before between 3:00pm and 5:30 pm.

Things you need to know

What's included?

  • AIARE instructor/AMGA trained/certified ski guide
  • Use of avalanche beacon, shovel, probe & ski pack
  • AIARE dues ($15), AIARE field book ($29.95)
  • 3% USFS land use surcharge

What's not included?

  • Personal skiing equipment (Alpine Touring (AT) ski, or snowboard equipment (available for demo at $15 discount)
  • Single ride lift tickets ($30 – often the instructors use Aspen Mountain to gain access to higher elevation snow which would require a lift ticket for a one time gondola ride)
  • Lunch/snack food

Gear. What to bring?


The following items are provided for your day tour:

  • Day-tour backpack: (airbag available)
  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Probe
  • Avy shovel: metal blade is a must



  • Socks: Wool or synthetic ski socks
  • Base layers: Synthetic, wool or silk bottom, underwear and top
  • Mid Layer: Synthetic or wool zip shirt
  • Hard Shell or Softshell pants: A pair with side vents are best.
  • Insulated vest or jacket: down or synthetic.



  • Water bottle
  • Small thermos: (Optional)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof
  • Headlamp
  • Toiletries, Personal first-aid kit: for your personal meds/needs
  • Camera or Smartphone
  • Lunch/Snack food

Good to know

  • Aspen Expeditions’ professional AMGA certified or trained guides follow both AIARE and AAA international snow education standards. Our expertise combined with years of experience in mountain ranges throughout the world assure you the highest quality instruction available.

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