Nelson | British Columbia

Avalanche Education at Ymir Lodge AIARE Level 2


January, 2020

Skill level

Previous backcountry experience is a must

It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ski and learn with a legend

Colin Zacharias has been the head guide at CMH-Bugaboos Lodge, a snow-safety director at the Calgary Olympics, AIARE’s technical director for the past half-decade, and an internationally licensed mountain guide for nearly 40 winters. He’s also a lead author on the new AIARE curriculum.

On January 20-25, 2020, Rob Coppolillo and Colin will deliver this curriculum at Ymir Lodge, giving students ample time to assimilate the info, apply it in the field, and receive immediate feedback during the course. The formal curriculum calls for three days in the field and classroom, but we’ll spend 4.5 days on it, allowing our team a much deeper dive into the art, science, and practice of avalanche risk-management and decision-making. This will be the only recreational course Colin delivers in 2020. Why wait another year?

Here's some more details on the course

You’ll meet your guides in Nelson, British Columbia, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, at the Cloudside Hotel, for an orientation meeting. The following morning you’ll all fly to the lodge late-morn and then it’s time to tour, eat, sleep, and tour some more! There’s daily lectures to fuel our brains and a private chef to fuel our bellies, as there’ll be daily ski tours between three and seven hours.

Also, count on pit demos, evening lectures, endless discussions and questions. Four and a half days gives us the opportunity to revisit topics and really apply skills — with no sense of urgency or being rushed. Colin and Rob delivered this same course/itinerary in both 2018 and ‘19, and it was a wonderful learning experience for all. Send us an inquiry for more details.


Completion of AIARE Level 1 and AIARE Companion Rescue are required for enrollment in this program.

Who should sign up for Ymir 2020?

Any AIARE 2 class requires a high level of fitness and skiing acuity from its participants. The tours and days are long and super rewarding, so if you’ve spent a fair amount of time in the backcountry and are comfortable with black graded runs, this is the avy course for you — it’s too good to pass up. After you complete it, you get to say you learned from the guy who literally wrote the book on it. Not bad.

Things you need to know


This is a one time course that takes place January 20th – 25th, 2020.

Getting there

Most participants who don’t live within immediate striking distance of Nelson, BC, opt to fly into Spokane International Airport (GEG) and make the three hour drive north to Nelson.

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