AIARE Avalanche Level 2 in Cooke City

Cooke City | Montana
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in Cooke City

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore the stunning backcountry of Beartooth Mountain

  • Trip Highlight

    An additional day in the field to zero in on your curriculum

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience Montana’s deep and reliable snowpack

Learning about the terrain and the snowpack doesn’t get any easier than in Cooke City, a charming mountain community located just 10 minutes away from Yellowstone National Park. With great access to open glades and stunning alpine terrain, this snowy jewel of Montana is the perfect place to upgrade your avalanche skills and become an advanced backcountry traveler. What makes this course special is that its curriculum exceeds the requirements of the American Avalanche Association, giving you an additional day in the field to dial in on new techniques and equipment.



Nearest city

Bozeman is 3 hours away


4 days

Skill level



Choose how you spend your days

Co-Ed AIARE Level 2 Course

4 days

A combination of classroom lectures and on-field lessons on the Beartooth Mountains makes Cooke City a perfect learning environment. Backcountry travelers looking to take their skills to the next level by studying snowpack layering, weather elements, and terrain management will be thrilled by this course. A full-day objective-based ski tour will test your decision-making and rescue skills.

All-Women AIARE Level 2 Course

4 days

This course follows the same curriculum as the regular course, but is reserved solely for groups of female backcountry travelers looking to fast-track their avalanche knowledge and rescue skills. Cooke City’s access to diverse ski terrain and your guide’s intimate knowledge of the area will make this an unforgettable learning experience!

Trip Highlights

Learning outcomes

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course

Combining four days of classroom instruction and practice in the field, this AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course in Cooke City will take your backcountry travel skills to the next level and equip you with the tools to navigate the wilderness with confidence.

    • Learn to recognize different layers of snowpack
    • Distinguish between types of backcountry terrain
    • Read the weather conditions
    • Lead small groups through ski zones with minimal risk of avalanche.
Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Cooke City, Montana

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 Cooke City, MT, please refer to the State of Montana’s government 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 guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full 4 days of learning in the classroom and in the field
    • An 8-hour Avalanche Rescue Course for students planning on continuing on the AAA Pro
    • Avalanche Education track (Pro 1)

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Accommodation
    • Food and snacks
    • Transportation

How fit do I need to be?

In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE 1 Course or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is required before taking the AIARE 2 course.

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
      • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Gloves and hat
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L 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

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 can be rented from your guide
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky, MT
    • Splitboards can be rented from Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky, MT

If you rent ski touring equipment in Big Sky, MT, it should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know during the booking process and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

    • For this course, the client-to-guide ratio is usually 4:1. The maximum group size is 8 participants with 2 guides.
    • All costs are per person. The prices don’t change as your group grows.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Cooke City, most people fly into Billings Logan International Airport or Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. From there, you can rent a car and take a 3-hour drive to Cooke City. Alternatively, you can take a bus to either Cody or Livingston, and then rent a car to Cooke City. Both trips will take you about 4 hours.

For parts of fall, spring and all of winter, roads to the east of Cooke City are closed. During that time, you have to enter Yellowstone at its North Entrance by Gardiner or bring a snowmobile in from the east.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in Cooke City or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

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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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1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
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