Overview:

AIARE 2 Avalanche Training:
Advanced Decision-Making in Complex Avalanche Terrain.

AIARE | The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Our AIARE 2 course teaches a complete program of curriculum established by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and are the world’s largest and most experienced AIARE provider.

In the past, AIARE 2 was designed to be an entry level professional course. In 2017, AIARE 2 was specifically redesigned to meet the needs of advanced recreational students who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue class.

An instructor on an AIARE 2 course passes a slab of snow to a student so they can inspect the layer.In AIARE 2, you’ll learn how to apply The AIARE Framework in new terrain, new snow climates or areas where external avalanche observations and forecasts are not readily available. 

In this course, you’ll learn to manage uncertainty by identifying and managing gaps in information. We’ll describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain. If your backcountry progression is taking you to huts or expeditions, or you’d like to be able to drill down past zone-level forecasts, AIARE 2 is perfect for you. 

By completing this course with Colorado Mountain School, you will receive a certification from AIARE and join a network of thousands of AIARE 2 avalanche training graduates.

Learn more about student learning outcomes in the “Curriculum” tab above.

All AIARE 2 students gain access to our season-long avalanche education membership: The Snow Pack.  The Snow Pack consists of three elements: AIARE coursework, bonus education, and student perks. AIARE 2 students will get complimentary access to the online classroom portion of AIARE 1, providing a great refresher course.

Snow Pack Logo

Learn more about the Snow Pack membership.

Details:

Why Our AIARE Courses Are Worth It:

  • Colorado Mountain School is the country’s largest AIARE Provider for a reason
  • Our Instructors are educators, not just minimally qualified instructors
  • We spend the majority of the course in the mountains, not inside
  • We provide valuable pre-course material to help you prepare
  • We provide bonus education opportunities to help you keep learning
  • Our Instructors are career guides, with decades of personal backcountry experience
  • Our Instructors are AMGA Ski Guide-trained or certified
  • We have a full-time office staff to answer all of your questions
  • Dozens of course dates to meet our guests scheduling needs
  • Get avalanche training in the ski venue you ski in locally
  • Fully sponsored by industry leaders Dynafit, SCARPA, Backcountry Access
  • Full avalanche rescue kit rentals at no charge – try before you buy
  • Discounts on select courses, guided ski tours and lodging partners through the included Snow Pack membership

AIARE Pro 1 or AIARE Rec Level 2?

We get this question often. The Pro 1 is a professional, entry-level course that focuses on teaching skills to facilitate sharing and using information while working within an operation (e.g. ski resort, guide service, CDOT, etc.). The Pro 1 is less valuable if you are not working in an operation where you will use these skills. 

Recreational travelers conduct a similar risk management process, but do it without the broad network of information and personnel support an operation provides. There is greater uncertainty and they (generally) have fewer days using a risk management process. Because of this, they operate with greater uncertainty. Enter AIARE 2.

Sample Itinerary:

Your course will take place in the mountains, digging in the snow and moving through the terrain. You should be prepared, mentally and physically, to stay immersed in the backcountry for up to eight hours. You will be assigned to a small pod consisting of one AIARE Instructor and a maximum of six students to simultaneously allow intimate instruction and the ability to spread out.  Here’s a preview itinerary of what your course could look like:

Optional Refresher -AIARE 1 Online Avalanche Basics

Self-paced online learning that can provide a good refresher before the season / your course.

  • Lesson 1: Intro to Colorado Mountain School, AIARE, & Course Logistics
  • Lesson 2: Track the Season’s Conditions
  • Lesson 3: Identifying Avalanche Terrain
  • Lesson 4: Avalanche Rescue Prep
  • Lesson 5: Teamwork in Avalanche Terrain

Field Day 1 – 8:00am – 4:00pm

  • 7:30am – 8:00am: Meet at trailhead, rental gear check out, hand out AIARE field books and Friends of CAIC Trailhead Membership
  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Morning hazard assessment meeting / trailhead transceiver function check
  • 8:30am – 11:30am: Companion rescue review and practice (Single and Multiple Burial)
  • 11:30am – 12:00pm: Transition to instructor led tour to gather snpx obs.
  • 12:00pm – 3:30pm: Instructor demo; Review of Seasonal Snowpack; Craftsmanship, Relevancy, and Verification of Snow Observations; Snowpack Tests in the Field.
  • 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Debrief observations in the field and return to trailhead. Post observations to local avalanche center

Field Day 2 – 8:00am – 4:00pm

  • 7:30am – 8:00am: Meet at trailhead
  • 8:00am – 8:15am: Instructor/student-led morning hazard discussion (avalanches, snowpack, weather)
  • 8:15am – 8:30am: Student-led trailhead transceiver function check
  • 9:00am – 2:00pm: Instructor/student-led tour: track setting, terrain identification, snow profile (site selection; layer id; hardness scale; grain id; tests); snowpack structure; interpreting weather data, snow surface conditions, and snow profiles; metamorphism, sintering and bonding, persistent weak layers / facets, nsf, ncf, surface hoar
  • 2:00pm – 2:30pm: Debrief observations in the field
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Return to trailhead
  • 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Summarize conditions and post to local avalanche center. Tour Planning homework

Field Day 3 – 8:00am – 4:00pm

  • 8:00am – 8:15am: Student-led morning hazard discussion (avalanches, snowpack, weather).
    Review tour plan options from night before
  • 8:15am – 8:30am:   Student-led trailhead transceiver function check
  • 9:00am – 2:00pm: Student-led tour: verify stability forecast; group management / terrain selection / travel techniques
  • 2:00pm – 2:30pm: Debrief observations in the field
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Return to trailhead
  • 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Summarize conditions and post to local avalanche center. Course conclusion, collect rental gear and next steps.

Optional Learning Resources – All Season Long

  • Virtual mentorship sessions
  • Students-only webinars
  • Tech tip video library
  • Community facebook forum: find partners, discuss coursework & more

Meeting location:

Optional Online Refresher: in your Colorado Mountain School account (automatically created during registration)

Field Sessions: at the trailhead, communicated ahead of time by your instructor

Lodging:

Estes Park: Fall River Village – a beautiful lodge just a five minute walk from downtown Estes Park. They are offering Colorado Mountain School students a discount on their Longs Peak Cottage floor plan. Please contact us to redeem.

Cameron Pass: There are a variety of cabins, vacation rentals and camping options available on / near Cameron Pass. Learn more about Cameron Pass and options for lodging near State Forest State Park.

Notes:

All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If your group is interested in a custom avalanche training course, please call us at 720-387-8944.

The nature of this pandemic requires us to be flexible and adaptable in how we deliver a quality training experience. Rest assured, from the moment you enroll all the way up to your course field days and beyond, our instructors will be a part of your learning progression and will provide you with the tools and resources you need to best prepare for your winter backcountry adventures. If you’d like to learn more about what we are doing to manage COVID-19 risk for our students and guides, please view our COVID-19 FAQ page.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • December 18, 2020 - December 20, 2020 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 16, 2021 - January 18, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes park, Colorado
  • February 1, 2021 - February 3, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 13, 2021 - February 15, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 26, 2021 - February 28, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 8, 2021 - March 10, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 26, 2021 - March 28, 2021 - AIARE 2 Three-Day Course - Estes Park, Colorado

Student learning outcomes:

  • 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.
  • Apply a routine to foster TEAMWORK while planning for and travelling in avalanche terrain.
  • PREPARE for backcountry travel with seasonal and daily routines.
  • Create a PLAN to manage a group travelling in avalanche terrain.
  • Apply the RIDE SAFELY checklists to promote situational awareness, to foster group communication, and to use terrain to reduce risk.
  • Review decisions and the decision-making process to intentionally develop experience through a daily DEBRIEF.
  • Practice Avalanche Rescue and effectively use personal avalanche rescue equipment.
  • Develop and use a life-long learning plan.

Prerequisites:

AIARE 1 Course or equivalent Level 1 training is required.
AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course
-Participants must be on an AT setup, Tele setup, or splitboard.
-Participants must know how to skin, ski hard blues/blacks at the resort, and ski in powder.

Preparation:

Who Should Take this Course:
The AIARE 2 is a three-day course for those who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue, and it is suggested that you have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience, though it is not required. The AIARE 2 provides backcountry travelers the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills in new terrain and/or mountain ranges.

Time:

8am-5pm

Duration:

3 Days

Maximum Ratio:

6:1
Experience Level

Advanced

Activity Level

Moderate

Discipline

Avalanche Training

Duration

Multi-Day

Price Includes:

Price Excludes:

  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Skiing / Splitboarding Equipment (Recommend Neptune Mountaineering)
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Rescue Insurance / Fees
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School
Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Avalanche Beacon

Modern, digital, three-antennae beacon with fresh batteries.

1

BCA Tracker 2 or 3

 

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Avalanche Probe

Collapsable metal or carbon rod used to probe avalanche debris while attempting to strike a buried target.

1

BCA Stealth 300

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Avalanche Rescue Shovel

Ski specific shovel used to dig pits and avalanche rescue. A metal blade is mandatory.

1

BCA B1 Ext

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Backpack: 20-40 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing. Large backpacking packs are acceptable, depending on the climb.

1

CAMP M3 30L

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Baselayer Bottoms

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended.

1

Men: Rab Forge Leggings
Women: Rab Forge Leggings

Rab

Clothing
Beanie or Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.

1

Rab Logo Beanie

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Climbing Skins

Nylon or mohair. Trimmed and adjusted to fit your skis or splitboard ahead of time.

1

Dynafit Speedskin

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Compass

Used for navigation and orientation. A compass with adjustable declination is preferrable.

1

Silva Ranger CLQ

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Face Mask (PPE)

Should be made with at least two layers of fabric. Your mask needs to cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

2 Clothing
First Aid Kit

Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit. You should bring a small kit including blister prevention and care products such as a role of athletic tape and Moleskin. Your kit should also contain a few Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Food

Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.

1

Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Goggles

Protect your eyes and face from wind and sun burn.

1

Julbo Airflux

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Hardshell Pants

These should be non-insulated pants with ankle cuffs wide enough to fit over your ski or ride boots.

1

Men: Rab Sharp Edge Pants
Women: Rab Women's Kangri GTX Pants

Rab Stores

Clothing
Headlamp

Load with fresh batteries. Critical for hiking before sunrise and great to have in the pack in case you are caught out after dark.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Heavyweight Waterproof Glove

This glove comes out when the winter going gets cold and wet or at higher altitudes.

1

RAB Storm Glove

Rab Store

Clothing
Hot Drinks

Coffee, tea, hot cocoa are great for warming up when it's cold outside.

1

Cusa Tea; Alpine Start Coffee

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Laptop

Useful for navigation courses, including hiking and ski tour planning.

1 Optional
Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a "wicking" layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.

2

Men: Rab Forge LS Tee
Women: Rab Force LS Tee

Rab Store

Clothing
Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.

1

RAB Power Stretch Pro

Rab Store

Clothing
Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Mechanical Pencil

Great for taking notes in the field.

1 Optional
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.

1

Men: Rab Nucleus Hoody
Women: Rab Nucleus Hoody

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Midweight Softshell Glove

This is the workhorse glove and is most often worn on warmer days when mountaineering. Softshell gloves are water-resistant and durable. They often have leather palms and fingers.

1

RAB Guide2 GTX Glove

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Neck Gaiter

"Buffs" are quite versatile in their uses. They can be used as light beanies, neck warmers, and can offer face protection from the cold wind or sun.

1

CMS Neck Gaiter

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Personal Toilet Kit

At minimum, bring a small Ziploc with toilet paper. Consider bringing a travel sized package of hand-wipes. Idealy, purchase, or for free from the RMNP Backcountry office, bring a "Rest Stop." The Rest Stop, known as "Blue Bags" in the Pacific Northwest, or the "Wag Bag" in other areas, are poop-in-a-bag systems that include toilet paper and a sanitizing hand wipe.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Ski Helmet

This item is recommended but not required. We will be skiing in the trees, and in snow conditions where rocks, stumps, and downded logs are present.

1

Camp Speed Comp

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Ski or Snowboard Boots

Footwear should be appropriate to mode of travel i.e. ski, snowboard, or insulated winter boots for snowshoes. For snowshoers, a boot such as the Scarpa Mont Blanc is the minimum level of boot required. Ski Boots should have a walk mode.

1

Scarpa Maestrale RS

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Ski or Trekking Poles

Two poles, with powder baskets, are required for all skiers, splitboarders, and snowshoers. It is ideal if poles are ski-specific and collapse small enough to fit onto a pack when climbing.

1

BCA Scepter

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Ski Straps

18" Rubber or velcro straps to connect skis when attaching them to a pack. Also useful for a variety of in-the-field equipment repairs.

2

BCA Ski Strap

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Skis or Snowboard

Skis should have touring bindings; lightweight tech bindings are ideal. Splitboards are ideal for snowboarders. Snowboarders using resort snowboards will need to have snowshoes and poles.

1

Dynafit Beast 98; Dynafit ST Radical 100

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Slope Meter (Inclinometer)

Used to measure slope angle, this tool is a standard equipment item for any backcountry traveler in avalanche terrain.

1

BCA Slope Meter

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Smart Phone App

There are a plethora of apps that assist in navigation. These apps use your phone's GPS functions and can work in the mountains offline.

1

Avanet; Gaia Maps; Topo Maps

Optional
Smartphone

Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps - keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Snow Saw

For cutting columns during snowpack analysis

1

BCA 35cm Snow  Saw

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Snow Study Kit

Crystal card, magnifying lens, thermometers, 2 meter ruler

1

BCA Snow Study Kit

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it "breaths," which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.

1

Men: Rab Salvo Jacket
Women: Rab Salvo Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion

1

North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the sun at bay during the approach and descent.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sunglasses

"Wrap-Around" style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.

1

Julbo Shield

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Synthetic or Down Puffy Jacket

Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days. Synthetic puffies are more durable, are easily laundered, and dry out quickly if wet. Down puffies are lighter weight, pack smaller, and provide exceptional warmth, but once wet, they stay wet.

1

Men: Rab Electron Jacket
Women: Rab Electron Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Synthetic or Merino Wool Socks

Wool and synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. "Ski" and "Snowboard" socks are especially useful when warmth is desired.

2

Point 6 Hiking Light Crew

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Thermos

Many ice climbers prefer to bring a thermos of hot water or soup instead of one of their water bottles.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Toe Warmers and Hand Heaters

Help keep you warm on particularly cold days.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Watch with Altimiter

An altimeter is very useful in gauging progression of altitude gain or loss when climbing, and especially when visibility is decreased due to weather. Many Altimeter watches have compasses or GPS tracking functions.

1

Suunto Vector; Suunto Core

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.

2

Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.

1

Men: RAB Ladakh GTX Jacket
Women: RAB Women's Kangri GRX Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing

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