AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course at Ymir Lodge

Ymir Lodge | British Columbia
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to upgrade your skills at Ymir Lodge

  • Trip Highlight

    Easy access to a wide variety of bowls and tree skiing

  • Trip Highlight

    The perfect combination between superlight fluffy Rockies powder and Coastal snow

  • Trip Highlight

    Located at 6,250 ft, the lodge offers stunning views of the surrounding Kootenays

Get ready for eight days of helicopter-accessed snowy adventures at the Ymir Lodge!
This AIARE 2 course is designed for skiers, riders and winter alpinists who travel regularly in avalanche terrain. The course will help experienced backcountry users gain new skills necessary to make decisions in complicated situations. Learn how to lead a small travel group, travel in challenging or complex avalanche terrain, and develop a travel plan without adequate resources. At the Ymir Lodge in British Columbia, you’ll create tons of memories of incredible field days, enjoy wonderful food, and experience the magic of lodge living! Find out more about why Ymir Lodge is the perfect classroom from Rob Coppolillo, internationally licensed mountain guide and guidebook author.


January and February

Nearest city

Nelson, BC, is 20 mins away from the lodge; Spokane, WA, is 3 hours away


8 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced


Book this adventure

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course at the Ymir Lodge

8 days

Take a deep-dive into the AIARE 2 recreational curriculum and spend a week studying and applying AIARE’s risk-management framework in the deep, Kootenay snowpack. Enjoy your stay in Ymir Lodge with gourmet meals prepared by a private chef, helicopter in/out, and a sauna for a relaxing evening after a day of learning. Commit yourself to the AIARE process and learn about gathering field obs, identifying terrain, planning tours, mitigating risk, and making safer decisions in the backcountry. Longer-format courses allow time to fully grasp the AIARE 2 curriculum and apply skills in the field. A 3:1 student-instructor ratio ensures customized and personalized learning, making this the best, most immersive AIARE 2 available!

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Learning outcomes

On Saturday morning, you’ll meet your guides at 8:00 am at Kootenay Valley Helicopters (KVH 250-505-2150). Then, it’s a helicopter ride to the Ymir Lodge, where you’ll get situated and have a safety briefing. Your guides will go through the curriculum and explain the schedule for the week. Each evening your group will discuss goals for the next day. When the day is over, relax in a sauna and enjoy a warm meal prepared by a professional chef!

In the morning, head out for another day of classes and exercises in the field. Some of the things you’ll learn about are:

  • gathering field obs
  • identifying terrain
  • planning tours
  • mitigating risk
  • making safer decisions in the backcountry.

The best thing about this setup is that this is an avy course where you actually get to spend your time skiing… a lot!


Reviews (1)

Elliot Clymer about Rob Coppolillo on 57hours

Rob is an excellent guide and educator, thoroughly enjoyed my class with him.

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Nelson, British Columbia

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Nelson, BC, please refer to the Province of British Columbia website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • An experienced, certified AIARE instructor with extensive knowledge of the area
  • AIARE 2 Avalanche Course
  • 8 days in the field
  • Helicopter transfers to and from the lodge
  • Lodge accommodation with a sauna
  • All meals prepared by a professional chef

What’s not included:

  • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
  • Trip insurance
  • Transportation to/from the Nelson staging area
  • Accommodation the night before the fly-in
  • Alcoholic beverages at the lodge

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an excellent level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels, this course is for intermediate to advanced skiers only. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

You should have several seasons of touring experience, have completed a level 1 avalanche course, and have strong fitness/movement skills. To receive credit for the course (with AIARE), you will need an AIARE 1 (within the last 5 years) and an AIARE Companion Rescue course prior to enrolling for this AIARE 2. If you’re not concerned about official credit with AIARE, but have equivalent experience of their level 1 and Rescue course, then let’s discuss whether this AIARE 2 will work for you.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
  • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
  • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
    • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
    • Lightweight snow shovel
    • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

  • Helmet
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Sunglasses or ski goggles
  • Gloves and hat
  • Long underwear top (synthetic or wool)
  • Light fleece or wool sweater
  • Lightweight wind jacket (nylon or ‘Schoeller’)
  • Waterproof – breathable shell jacket
  • Warm insulated jacket (down or synthetic)
  • Pair of wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • Pair wool or synthetic underwear
  • Long underwear bottoms (synthetic or wool)
  • Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • Waterproof breathable shell pants (full zip is best)
  • Handkerchief
  • Down or synthetic camp booties — optional
  • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
  • Insulated water bottle and 1.5-2L of water
  • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
  • Camera — optional
  • Duffle bag for flying into the lodge
  • Shoes or sandals
  • Winter boots for travel to the outhouse
  • Hut clothing
  • 1-2 towels and swimsuit for sauna
  • Personal medications and toiletries
  • Chargers for electronic devices (normal AC power is available via micro-hydro)

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

  • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe from your guide.
  • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from ROAM Shop.
  • Splitboards can be rented from ROAM Shop.

Ski rental locations are in Nelson, BC, and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and minimum age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

  • For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 3:1, with two assistant instructors — both fully certified AIARE instructors and both Pro2 certified.
  • The cost is per person and does not change due to the group size.
  • A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking.

Ski touring in Nelson, BC, can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
  • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Do I need an insurance policy?

We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!


A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies, and deposits are no longer refundable. The remaining 70% of the amount is paid the latest 3 months (90 days) prior the departure.

Cancellation policy

Please inform us immediately if you have to cancel or reschedule. If it’s possible, your guide will accommodate your request and try to save your trip, deposit, and payment. Multi-day trips are much more difficult to rearrange, so please plan ahead.

For most trips, In case you need to cancel, the following policy applies:
– 60 or more days prior to the trip start date, you will be refunded your full deposit except for a $50 processing fee
– 59 – 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to the deposit amount will be charged.
— no refunds or credits are given for “no-shows” or those who prematurely depart from a trip or course for any reason

In the event the guide can’t accommodate a change or cancellation, they must adhere to a standard registration and cancellation policy. They cannot transfer you to another trip or program. For particular adventure destinations, your guides cannot refund trip payments, including deposits, as they are committed to expensive bookings like helicopters, boats, hotels, and vehicle transfers. We strongly recommend trip insurance for these bookings.

All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Ymir Lodge, you can drive from Calgary (about six hours) or Vancouver (about eight hours), but most people fly into Spokane International Airport, WA. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. Drive time is approximately three hours with a border crossing.

You will meet your guides at the staging area at Kootenay Valley Helicopters (KVH 250-505-2150) and from there take a helicopter ride to the Ymir Lodge.

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Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

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