AIARE Avalanche Level 2 – Breckenridge/Vail CO
Location - Colorado, Breckenridge
February 11, 2023 - February 12, 2023 -
Backcountry Babes provides a noncompetitive learning environment focused on inclusivity, support, and leadership development. Our AIARE Level 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management tools and decision making model introduced in AIARE Level 1. This course will expand your group facilitation skills from your Level 1 with regular coaching and support from your instructors. In addition, learn more about how to assess the present hazard, evaluate terrain complexity and consequence while actively managing risk within your group. This course dives deeper into the local avalanche bulletin as well as areas where a specific avalanche bulletin may not be applicable.
The AIARE Level 2 is a great opportunity to review your AIARE Level 1 skills & knowledge and expand on them, promoting further independence and leadership skills in the backcountry. One of the best things about an AIARE 2 is that all the students are AIARE 1 graduates, so the course has an excellent foundation from which to review and build more advanced knowledge.
Upon successful completion of the course, participants will obtain their AIARE Avalanche Level 2 Certificate of Completion.
Need help paying for an AIARE Course or Beginner Backcountry Tour? Please see if you meet the criteria and apply on our Scholarship Page: https://
Duration: 2 online evening sessions, 2 field days
Activity Level: Moderate
Required Experience: Prerequisites include ability to travel in avalanche terrain, a recent Avalanche Level 1 Course and AIARE Rescue Course. If it’s been more than 5 years since your AIARE 1 course, we recommend taking the AIARE 1 Course again because the AIARE 1 curriculum (and your experience) has developed significantly over the years.
Feb 7 & 9 Online Sessions and Feb 11-12 Field Days
About the AIARE Avalanche Level 2 Course
Two Online Classroom Sessions
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Our course begins with 2 online classroom sessions on weeknight evenings. We’ll expand on what you’ve already learned in your AIARE Level 1 course focusing on avalanche terrain, weather forecasts, basic forecasting, teamwork and developing positive leadership skills in the backcountry. This course is geared toward the recreationist looking to expand and further foster their leadership skills and decision making in the backcountry. These sessions include live presentations with our Backcountry Babes instructors, Q&A sessions, small group breakouts and self-paced work. Homework assignments will be essential to explore online resources at your own pace and to incorporate new knowledge into your backcountry routines. This course is focused on the development and implementation of tour plans and instructors will provide feedback throughout the course. The online learning sessions are the foundation of success for our two full field days on Saturday and Sunday– and will help you incorporate knowledge and build good habits for your future backcountry touring days.
Satuday - All Day Field Day
8:00am - 5:00pm
Today we’ll meet at the trailhead for a full field day in a small pod of students and your instructor. Objectives for our field time include practicing up to date rescue techniques, weather observations, recognizing and navigating avalanche terrain and snow pits. Additionally much of the course is geared toward expanding leadership skills for participants including decision making and managing more complex terrain and group dynamics. The day will end with a facilitated group debrief with touring partners as well a feedback and development suggestions.
Sunday - All Day Field Day
8:00am - 5:00pm
Today the group will compile their skills for a larger group ski tour. Students are tasked with the facilitation of this tour including all necessary steps before, during and following the day’s backcountry tour. The focus continues on group management and communication while practicing terrain selection and good travel techniques in more complex scenarios than introduced in AIARE Level 1. The day concludes with a thorough group debrief including instructor feedback and suggested next steps depending on interests.
Backcountry travel is a lifelong learning experience. It’s important to continue your education with future Backcountry Babes events, guided backcountry ski trip, reading, avalanche conferences, and more.
What to Expect
- Comfortable and fun learning atmosphere
- Attentive, experienced, & professional AIARE qualified instructors. Your instructor team may include women and men who support our mission of women becoming leaders in their backcountry pursuits
- Engaging online classroom and field sessions
- Appropriate and applicable avalanche safety knowledge
- Practical experience in the field
- Includes AIARE Field Book, online Student Manual, and pre-course AIARE Online Learning Module
- Self-empowerment regarding backcountry travel & decision-making
- Earn AIARE Rec. Level 2 Certificate
Backcountry skis or split-board, ski poles, ski or snowboard boots, climbing skins, avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, avalanche shovel, backcountry backpack, and proper outerwear and warm layers for field time. Snowstudy tools include a crystal card, snow saw, magnifier (8x – 10x recommended), folding ruler, compass (with inclinometer recommended), and pencils. We recommend Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge to rent or purchase any other gear!
Recommended reading: Review your AIARE Level 1 Field Manual and Bruce Tremper’s book Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain. These are great resources to bolster what you learned in Level 1 and prepare for your Level 2.
FLY: To Denver or Vail/Eagle airport in Colorado.
DRIVE: To our trailheads in the Breckenridge/ Vail area. Our touring locations include Mt Baldy, Loveland Pass, Hoosier Pass, Vail Pass, Meadow Mountain or another of our USFS permitted locations. If you are looking to book lodging, Dillon, Frisco, and Breck are all fairly central to the majority of our touring locations. Exact touring location is weather and condition dependent. You will receive specific touring location information during our online evening sessions.
Backcountry Babes is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. Backcountry Babes operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest Ranger District and Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District.
“So much info. So much girl power. So much stoke! It was great to learn in an inclusive classroom and be able to apply the new skills outside in small groups. The instructors are so informed, professional, and fun! I would highly encourage other women take this course if they are interested in learning more about the backcountry.”Missy M.Breckenridge, CO AIARE Avalanche Course
“This course taught me crucial lessons about the nature of avalanches and decision-making in the backcountry. I learned how to identify hazards, and I feel more comfortable assuming a leadership role when it comes to traveling in the backcountry.”Ryndi Z., Granby, COAIARE Avalanche Course
“This co-ed setup is so cool, as it allows couples to take an AIARE class together in a stigma-free environment where both partners can feel empowered instead of the “token” female among males or vice versa taking an avalanche course. It really flows well with what AIARE tries to accomplish and I think everyone in the group really enjoyed this format and how well the group dynamics worked.”Mike BortnowskiAIARE Avalanche Level 1 Instructor
“I appreciated the balance of classroom education and field application. All of the instructors were AWESOME. Approachable, allowing for all of us to ask any question.”Trent KDenver, CO
“This course was beneficial in so many ways – We lived backcountry touring for a couple of days and got to go through the motions of trip planning, avalanche observations, and terrain management. I have a great framework moving forward. Our instructors Kirsten, Casey, and Janine did a great job working together. I really liked hearing different perspectives, experiences and styles.”Nathan LLittleton, CO
“There is an incredibly positive and high energy stoke level of the female-empowered AND co-ed classroom environment. It is cool to hear our students discuss the value of the learning environment–enjoying growth through our women’s empowerment focus and recognizing the reality that future teamwork will consist of co-ed teams in the backcountry.”Anne St. ClairLead Instructor