Project Description

AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course

Become a confident backcountry leader! We take the foundation students have created in their Avalanche 1 course and go much more in-depth with snowpack assessment, terrain evaluation, decision making, and tour planning. Our Level 2 Avalanche Course focuses on personalized instruction and getting lots of mileage skiing in the backcountry with AIARE instructors and AMGA trained ski guides.

$550 per person

December 28-30, 2018 (Closed)
January 25-27, 2019 (Closed)
February 23-25, 2019 (Closed)
March 16-18, 2019 (Closed)


Program Overview

Peak’s AIARE Avalanche course curriculums were ranked “One of the Top Avalanche Courses in America for Adventure Seekers” by Curbed Ski Magazine. Our curriculum prioritizes hands-on learning and practice for those who learn best by doing. Our avalanche staff has been hand picked for their depth of experience as professionals in the snow and avalanche industry, and for their welcoming, approachable demeanor. They include AIARE Instructor Trainer Team members, AMGA certified ski guides, avalanche forecasters, ski patrollers, and AIARE qualified instructors.


Day 1:

Morning Classroom Session – Peak Office in Ouray, CO
Introductions and Logistics
Course Goals and Objectives
Review Pre-course Exercise
Mountain Weather Formation & Classification of New Snow
Snowpack Structure & Interaction with the Environment
An In-Depth Look at Metamorphism

Afternoon Field Session – Snowpack Observations & Snow Profile
Field Weather Observation Demo Snow Profile Demo

Day 2 :

Morning Classroom Session – Peak Office in Ouray, CO
Warm Up: Pop quiz on snow profiles
Near Surface/Near Crust Faceting & Surface Hoar
Weak Layer Characteristics Review of the Seasonal Snow History of the San Juans
AM Weather Update & Trip Plan

Afternoon Field Session – Red Mountain Pass
Ski tour while gathering observations that are pertinent to the current avalanche problem Observing and recording site-specific snowpacks with test profiles Large Column Tests such as ECT & PST (if not completed previously)

Evening Classroom Session – Peak Office in Ouray, CO
Debrief Field Session / Discuss Findings Using the PM Avalanche Hazard & Risk Assessment Form

Day 3:

Morning Classroom Session – Peak Office in Ouray, CO 8:00 – 10:00
Warm Up: Daily ski pack contents Video on Fracture Character / Comparison to shear quality scale
Characteristics of Avalanche Release
Making Observations Relevant AM Weather Update & Trip Plan

Afternoon Field Session – Red Mountain Pass
10:00-11:00 Ski tour led by course participants
11:00 – 4:30 Terrain Selection, Group Management, & Terrain Management

Evening Classroom Session – Peak Office in Ouray, CO 4:30 – 5:30
Tour Debrief PM Avalanche Hazard & Risk Assessment
Self-Evaluation and Course Evaluation
Presentation of Certificates

Program Details

Group Size

The maximum ratio is 5:1. The group size will not exceed 10 students and 2 instructors.

Time and Place

The course will be held at the Peak Mountain Guides office in Ouray, CO and in the backcountry near Red Mountain Pass. The Peak Mountain Guides office is located on 7th Avenue, just downhill from Ouray Hardware & Mercantile. The address is 280 7th Avenue Ouray, CO 81427. Free parking is available on the streets around the office.

Getting to Ouray

Details on lodging/shuttles to Ouray.

Equipment List

It is possible to rent touring equipment from our ski shop: Rental Rates