Are you a dedicated backcountry rider?

Should I go rec or pro? Well, if you're wondering then go rec. Recreational avalanche courses are for those who want to play in avalanche terrain. Can I ski the slope or not? Professional is for operations: ski patrol, avalanche forecasters and ski guides.

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. 
  • None scheduled for winter 2017/18. 

Public Course 


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

 Does Not Include

  • Transport. To reduce your costs, using a rental car or your personal car is the best option. If possible, the guide will ride with you. 
  • Lodging, food and drink. See Southcentral Alaska Logistics.  
  • Personal gear. See Alaska Backcountry Ski Gear List.  
  • Rescue and trip insurance. See Booking for details. 
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. 
  • Avalanche Essentials, by Bruce Tremper
  • Food
  • Required avalanche gear:
    • Snow saw: G3 Bone Saw recommended. 
    • Shovel: G3 Avitech Shovel recommended. 
    • Beacon: Pieps DSP Pro recommended. 
    • Inclinometer: any inclinometer will work. 
    • ECT cord: 3m of 2mm accessory cord with overhand knots every 15cm.
    • Notebook and pencil: Rite in the Rain 211 recommended. 

Photos from Recreational Level 2 Courses