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Avalanche Level 2

Backcountry travelers who have completed their Level 1 course and wish to enhance their skills are a good fit for the Level 2 course. The course is centered around avalanche hazard evaluation, observation, and decision-making, and offers a unique opportunity to practice those skills at Hatcher Pass or Turnagain Pass. Classroom sessions focus on the development of the snowpack, understanding the avalanche problem, including persistent and deep slab instabilities, avalanche mechanics and utilizing snow and weather resources to trip plan. In the field, Level 2 curriculum concentrates on snow stability evaluation techniques, detailed snowpack analysis, and documentation. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to documentation and record keeping as per the Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG) handbook. Instructors seek to study a variety of snowpack conditions, and recent avalanches are used for analysis when possible. Specific topics covered include:

  • Group rescue & multiple burial search techniques

  • Decision-making and leadership

  • Terrain analysis

  • Understanding the avalanche problem and where it is found

  • Snowpack observation and stability analysis

  • Documentation of observations, field weather and snowpack

  • Route selection & safe travel procedures


  • Strong intermediate backcountry up and downhill travel skills on skis or splitboard (no snowshoes allowed for this course). Participation in a Level 1 course or equivalent.

  • Have at least one season of experience since Level 1 course and practicing observations and field reports.

  • Read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain. (The Avalanche Handbook, by David McClung and Peter Schaerer, is also recommended reading.) Both of these books are available in our office, 1025 Orca Street, Unit 1 N.

 Course Time: 40 hours

Additional Course Information For All Level 2 Students

Please read our Cancellation Policy before signing up for a course.