AIARE Level 2

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

2018-19 DATES

  • Feb 1-3

Also available by private education – call for info and booking


Max ratio 1 guide to 6 clients
Course: $525


moderate – dificult


Three 8 hour days


Vail Valley,
Vail Pass or Fremont Pass


Promote your well-being in a backcountry skiing environment by expanding your knowledge and skill set through formal avalanche education.The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) provides world-class education through the only internationally recognized curriculum offered in the U.S.


Students should be prepared to travel in backcountry terrain by ski or splitboard (or snowshoe, if no other option). The course takes place in mountainous terrain, at altitude. At times, weather can be harsh. As a result, we urge that students come prepared for unfavorable conditions. Suggestions for proper attire are located in the “to bring” tab.

Registration for the course is required.  This course is also available at Vail Mountain where we have lift access to the field location. Furthermore, we offer Private Courses in which you will be taught in a personal setting with your own instructor.


Are you ready to sign up? We look forward to working with you. So register with the accompanying calendar, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page to request more info.


  • 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!


  • • 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.


  • 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…)


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


  • 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)


  • 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).


  •  Reinforcement of Level 1 fundamentals
  • Snow profiles, surface condition analysis, and the formation of snowpack 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 splitboard to apply learned skills in a mountain environment, with a 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.
Lucky enough to have a small class, so Scott tailored the experience to our goals and experience level. He did an incredible job introducing information but letting us find our own way. There is so much to learn in such a short period of time and he managed to make it enjoyable and not too overwhelming. He even found a way to make the best of the freezing cold, and lack of snow. I would absolutely recommend Apex for AIARE training and am already planning on going back for a guided trip.