AIARE Level 2

Learn the decision-making skills necessary to evaluate and travel in avalanche terrain in AIARE Level 2 with the Vail Valley’s #1 Recommended Apex Mountain School.

Interested in our 1-day avalanche rescue course?



24 hours over 3 days


  • Apex Mtn. School office, located at 51 Eagle Rd. #1, Avon, CO 81620
  • Private Land, Continental Divide, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass


  • Cost is for full course. Max ratio 1 guide to 6 clients
  • $565 per person
  • Private class: $4350 for the full class for up to 6 people


Three of Five

Experience Level


Colorado backcountry skiing and snowboard riding leaders and aspiring enthusiasts have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of avalanche conditions and enhance their decision making skills through the AIARE Level 2 course. The Level 2 course builds on the AIARE Level 1 course by providing an advanced understanding of snowpack, snow stability and decision making in avalanche terrain.   The AIARE course curriculum focuses on an advanced understanding of:

  • Reinforcement of Level 1 fundamentals
  • Snow profiles, surface condition analysis, and the formation of snowpak over time
  • Theory and observation of skier-triggered slides
  • Forecasting, avalanche observation and recording guidelines per U.S. and International guidelines
  • Small group travel and decision making
  • Following classroom sessions, we will travel by backcountry ski or split board to apply learned skills in a mountain environment.

These sessions will focus on:

  • Analysis of snow stability
  • Route selection and terrain analysis
  • Slope tests
  • Reinforcement of level 1 probe and shovel techniques, as well as rescue techniques for single and multiple burials.

Prerequisites: Participants should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain (by ski or split board) in potentially inclement weather and mountainous conditions at altitude, and must have previously completed a level 1 avalanche education course. Included in course: AIARE certified course instructor, course manual, avalanche field book, and certificate of completion. Course location: Apex Mountain School office, located at 51 Eagle Rd., Unit #1, Avon, CO 81620: For directions, please visit how to find us.  Some personal gear provided by participant, see the gear list tab above for details. For clarification use our contact us page or call (970) 949-9111.   Ready to sign up?  Register at the Book It tab above.  You may also call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page.

Personal Equipment:

  • Beacon/probe/shovel (rental available)
  • Clothing for activities and standing in cold/snowy weather (no cotton
  • Long underwear
  • Insulating layers
  • Outer layer (wind/waterproof shell pant and top)
  • Down puffy
  • Warm gloves, mitts, headband, and hat/facemask/buff
  • Goggles and sunglassesSmall personal first aid kit (sunscreen/lip-balm, moleskin, band-aids, medication, etc.)
  • Helmet (recommended)
  • Water Bottle
  • Headlamp and spare batteries
  • Pack
  • Food and water/hot liquid!

Alpine Touring, telemark, or splitboarding equipment:

  • • You are required to arrive with equipment. Whether yours or rental, understand how to use your equipment in advance, how to transition the equipment, skins are cut and all equipment is functional and in working order PRIOR to our field days.

Rescue Equipment:

  • Avalanche probe – 260 cm or longer, no integrated ski pole probes or shovel-packed probes
  • Collapsible metal shovel
  • Digital avalanche transceiver (457 kHz frequency)
  • Air bag (optional)
  • Personal first aid kit (blisters, meds, wound care, gloves/face shield, splinting material, sugar etc.)
  • Repair kit, specific to your mode of travel (consider multi-tool, bit driver, hose clamps, straps, spare screws, tape, zip ties, spare basket, pole repair, spark plugs, drive belt etc…)
  • Insulating pad (can be part of pack)
  • Rescue sled, portable w/ supporting slings/straps (OPTIONAL, one per group is sufficient)
  • Emergency shelter as appropriate (OPTIONAL, space blanket, guide’s tarp, bivy sac / bothy bag etc…)

Snow Study/Observations Equipment:

  • CLINOMETER/inclinometer
  • 2 mechanical pencils
  • Field notebook (Apex provides these)
  • 3m long intermittently knotted cord (2-4mm thick) or manufactured Rutschblock cord
  • Snow saw (min 35cm blade). 70-100cm folding long-saw may replace Rutschblock cord.
  • Snow thermometers (qty 2, graduated in degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit). Dial stem and/or glass/alcohol types are commonly used. Electronic thermometers are acceptable – be sure to have extra batteries.
  • Crystal identification screen; dark color
  • Magnifier (Otherwise known as Loupe), 10x-15x
  • Folding ruler (graduated in centimeters. 2 meter length)

Navigation Tools

  • Terrain Images (optional)
  • Local maps
  • Compass
  • Altimeter/GPS or smartphone
  • Small binocular or monocular for distance viewing
  • Communications equipment (all optional, as Apex has):
  • Two-way radio, GMRS or VHF
  • Satellite phone or transponder (SPOT, DeLorme)

You will also need the following books:

  • Avalanche Handbook (2006 3rd Edition, available for purchase from Apex)
  • SWAG book (Snow, weather, and avalanches: observation guidelines for avalanche programs in the US, 2010, available for purchase from Apex)

  • You will need a laptop, tablet or smartphone for accessing weather stations and submitting observations (bring to class each day).

Participant Forms: If you wish to complete your participant forms in advance, download and print out the pdf below. Complete both pages for each participant, and give to your guide at the beginning of your trip.

Participant Forms

Click the button below to view our terms, conditions and cancellation policy.