Level 2 Avalanche Course

Nick Beesley inspecting a weak layer before a steep decent at Summit Lake, Alaska.

Join Joe this winter for an Avalanche Level two course through the Alaska Avalanche School

The purpose of this course is to enhance your skills in avalanche hazard evaluation, forecasting and decision-making. Classroom sessions focus on how unstable snow developments including some of the newer concepts in snow science. In the field we concentrate on snow stability evaluation techniques, detailed snowpack analysis and decision making. We’ll try to find recent avalanches to investigate the causes of fracture, but if there are no crown faces to be found, we’ll seek out a variety of snowpack conditions. The training will be intensive. This course consists of 40 hours of classroom and field training. 

Course Curriculum Includes

  • Multiple victim rescue techniques
  • Terrain analysis
  • Snow stability evaluation
  • Decision making
  • Route selection
  • Safe travel procedures
  • Documenting snow pits
  • Avalanche forecasting


  • At least intermediate backcountry travel skills. 
  • Participation in a prior three-day AAS Level 1 Course or equivalent. 
  • At least a year of experience since your Level 1 Course. 


 Four days. See calendar on homepage for courses. 

Public Course 


  • Instruction
  • Floor space at the Hatcher Pass Visitor Center
  • Instructional handouts

 Does Not Include 

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation, except at Hatcher during the public course
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. 
  • Avalanche Essentials, by Bruce Tremper
  • Food
  • Personal gear and clothing
  • Avalanche gear:
    • Snow saw: G3 Bone Saw recommended
    • Shovel: Black Diamond Eval Shovel recommended
    • Beacon: Pieps DSP Sport
    • Inclinometer: any inclinometer will work, phones not recommended
    • ECT cord: 2m of 2mm accessory cord with overhand knots every 10cm.

My goal is to give you more skills and confidence in avalanche terrain for runs like this. 


We spend much time digging holes in the snow, examining the strength of the interfaces between the layers to help understand how snow and avalanches work. 


This avalanche happened two hours earlier. Do you ski here? We'll work on our decision making skills. 


And you'll be out front, navigating through avalanche terrain, making decisions with immediate feedback from instructors.