The American Avalanche Institute is teaming up with missoulaavalanche and the University of Montana Outdoor Program to offer a Level 2 Avalanche class in Missoula.  A level 2 course is designed for students with level 1 avalanche skills. Participants will go deeper into the science of snow metamorphism, and use this to have a better understanding of the season snowpack history and the nature of existing avalanche problems. The AAI Backcountry Avalanche Checklist as a system for sorting and prioritizing information in the field, setting a tone of teamwork, and minimizing human factor traps.
Forty percent of the course is classroom based and the other sixty percent is field based. Students travel in the backcountry, in and around avalanche terrain.
This course will cover the following:

  • Tracking the season snowpack history
  • Characteristics of the different avalanche problems
  • Weather history, avalanche problems, and stability assessment
  • Formation of persistent weak layers – facets, depth hoar, surface hoar
  • Wet snow metamorphism
  • Avalanche terrain – large & small scale features
  • Group management in challenging/complex terrain
  • Avalanche runout
  • Stability tests – incorporating strength, structure and propagation potential
  • Advanced avalanche rescue
  • SWAG documentation
  • Tour planning
  • Use of the AAI Backcountry Avalanche Checklist as a field tool for sorting & prioritizing information
  • Human factor traps and solutions
  • Case studies with analysis using AAI Backcountry Avalanche Checklist


Level 1 avalanche course or equal experience

Minimum of one season between the level 1 & level 2 used to apply the tools and strategies learned on a level

Recommended Reading

Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper

Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States

For more information and registration

or call  (307) 733.3315 .