AIARE 2 Avalanche Course in Tahoe

Building on AIARE 1 and the Avalanche Rescue Course, we dive deeper into weather, snow, route planning, human dynamics, and avalanche terrain to give you more confidence leading your group and making decisions in avalanche terrain. These skills will help you tackle bigger tours, higher peaks and the great snowy ranges of the world!

Overview
Itinerary
Prerequisites
Inclusions
Gear

We'll cover the following topics and skills:

  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Avalanche Problems
  • Trip Planning
  • Snow and Weather Observations
  • How to Practice Small Team Avalanche Rescue
  • Terrain Choice
  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
  • Trailhead Departure Check
  • Route Finding
  • Track Setting
  • Descent Choices

See a highlight reel from one of our AIARE 2 Programs:

Here's the schedule for your course:

  • 6 Hour Online Course - can be completed any time prior to the pre-field webinar

  • 2 Hour Pre-Field Webinar - 7:00-9:00pm the Wednesday before the field days on Zoom

  • Field Day 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after the pre-field webinar, based on weather and snow conditions

  • Field Day 2 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 1, based on weather and snow conditions

Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

  • Completed AIARE 1 and AIARE Avalanche Rescue - Course completion certificates from AIARE are required

  • Advanced Resort Riding skills - Including off-piste terrain in challenging snow conditions

  • Basic Backcountry Touring Skills - Including familiarity with equipment and avalanche gear

  • Basic Fitness - Able to spend an active day outside, moving uphill at 1,000’ per hour for durations of roughly 1 hour between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 3-5 miles and climb 1,000-1,500 vertical feet throughout the course of the day.

  • Ski/Split Touring & Avalanche Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us

Here's what's included with your course:

  • Experienced AMGA/AIARE Trained Guide
  • Tahoe or Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Permit
  • Interactive Online Course with lifetime access
  • AIARE Field Book (a $30 value)
  • AIARE Certification/Student Fees (a $35 value)
  • Group Safety Gear - Snow Science, First Aid Kits
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal, in compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Ski/Splitboard Gear
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Winter Parking Passes
  • Guide Gratuities

Tahoe Backcountry Skiing Gear List


Know Before you go

SKILL LEVELAIARE 1, Rescue, Extensive Touring
ELEVATION6,000’-9,000’
LocationTahoe

Price/Person $695.00
Private Programs
Duration: 2.5 Days
View Full Itinerary
Private Programs

Blackbird Mountain Guides offers both scheduled group programs and private programs.

Private programs are simply above and beyond what Blackbird Mountain Guides currently has scheduled. Scheduled courses are not always less expensive. Before booking a trip with Blackbird Mountain Guides, clients are encouraged to review the differences between these types of programs, and to decide what works best for them.

SCHEDULED PROGRAMS

Scheduled Programs have fixed dates, itineraries, objectives, curriculum, and costs. They typically appeal to solo individuals or small groups or who are looking to share the cost of their program with a larger group. Correspondingly, scheduled programs are less expensive for smaller groups (1-2), and they provide the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. If you have a large group (3+), Scheduled programs will often be more expensive. They can fill up quickly, and scheduling flexibility is obviously limited.

Scheduled programs will have advertised dates. All scheduled programs can be run as private programs with private dates/rates as well.

PRIVATE PROGRAMS

Private programs have scheduling freedom. They typically appeal to those who would like some flexibility in planning their own trip or course. In this regard, Itineraries and objectives can be tailored to suit current conditions as well as client goals. Private programs are normally less expensive for larger groups (3+). If you have a small group (1-2) private programs will be more expensive.

Contact us
Full Itinerary

Online Coursework (6 hours): Immediately after signing up for Blackbird A2, you can begin learning. Take the Online Coursework whenever it makes sense for you.  You’ll need roughly 6 hours to complete this portion of the course.  This education is for your own development and understanding, so study hard and come up with some good questions for your instructor.  The more knowledge you have before you arrive to the field, the more you and your fellow participants will get out of the course.  

Please take notes and write down questions as you progress through the online coursework so that we can review them in the “Pre-Field Webinar.”

Pre-Field Webinar (2.5 hours): Before the course, you’ll be invited to a “Pre-Field Webinar” where you avalanche instructor will tie the lessons of the online coursework together with some fun and helpful exercises.  After that, there will be time available for questions.

Pre-Field Homework: Create a trip plan for our first field day. 

Field Day 1: Ski Tour with Avalanche Observations

8:00 am  Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. Your guide will open a group discussion of the current avalanche problem and the implications it has on our objective.  We will discuss what appropriate observations are given the avalanche problem type and our venue.  We will discuss and choose proposed ascent routes up and options for the descent.  Your guide will coach you on how to conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check if anyone is unclear.

8:30 am  Tour to the observation site, making critical weather and snowpack observations along the way in real time.  We will discuss pertinent on the go observations so that we keep the group moving and move in a timely manner to complete the ski objective.  

Decision making based on observations we make will be the key factor.  We can devote time to studying snowpack, terrain, group movement, human factors, small team avalanche rescue or weather depending on which topics are the most pertinent to the program at hand.  

3:30 pm  We will close the program at the trailhead with a quick review of the skills that we learned, a synopsis of the avalanche observations that we made and an overview of what to expect the following day in the field. 

Homework will be for participants to create an appropriate tour for the following day based on local resources available, weather forecast, avalanche advisory and the observations we made during the day.

Field Day 2: Participant Led Ski Tour with Mentored Avalanche Observations and Decision Making

8:00 am  We’ll meet at the trailhead for our objective. Participants will lead us through the changes in weather in the last 24 hours, forecast for the day, the current avalanche problems/advisory, our route plan and options, an emergency action plan and perform the trailhead beacon check.  

Participants will switch out leading the program throughout the day, working together to make appropriate decisions considering the avalanche hazard, weather and group dynamics.  We’ll practice gathering observations, prioritizing information and making decisions with our teams just like the previous day, but guides will shift to a mentorship role and relinquish much of the leadership to the participants.

3:30 pm 

 We’ll regroup at the trailhead to debrief the tour and discuss the lessons of the day and the lessons learned from the program as a whole. We will close out the program with guidance on good ideas to help you choose your next steps in avalanche education and ski touring. 

We'll cover the following topics and skills:

  • Mountain Snowpack
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Avalanche Problems
  • Trip Planning
  • Snow and Weather Observations
  • How to Practice Small Team Avalanche Rescue
  • Terrain Choice
  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team
  • Trailhead Departure Check
  • Route Finding
  • Track Setting
  • Descent Choices

See a highlight reel from one of our AIARE 2 Programs:

Here's the schedule for your course:

  • 6 Hour Online Course - can be completed any time prior to the pre-field webinar

  • 2 Hour Pre-Field Webinar - 7:00-9:00pm the Wednesday before the field days on Zoom

  • Field Day 1 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after the pre-field webinar, based on weather and snow conditions

  • Field Day 2 - 8:00am meetup with your guide at the trailhead, 3:30-4:00pm end time. Course venue will be determined after Field Day 1, based on weather and snow conditions

Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

  • Completed AIARE 1 and AIARE Avalanche Rescue - Course completion certificates from AIARE are required

  • Advanced Resort Riding skills - Including off-piste terrain in challenging snow conditions

  • Basic Backcountry Touring Skills - Including familiarity with equipment and avalanche gear

  • Basic Fitness - Able to spend an active day outside, moving uphill at 1,000’ per hour for durations of roughly 1 hour between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 3-5 miles and climb 1,000-1,500 vertical feet throughout the course of the day.

  • Ski/Split Touring & Avalanche Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us

Here's what's included with your course:

  • Experienced AMGA/AIARE Trained Guide
  • Tahoe or Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Permit
  • Interactive Online Course with lifetime access
  • AIARE Field Book (a $30 value)
  • AIARE Certification/Student Fees (a $35 value)
  • Group Safety Gear - Snow Science, First Aid Kits
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal, in compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Ski/Splitboard Gear
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Winter Parking Passes
  • Guide Gratuities

Tahoe Backcountry Skiing Gear List

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Epic Reviews From Adventurers

5 reviews
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Nothing but professional!

    From start to finish Blackbird guides were nothing but professional. I took my AIARE 2 with them and got what I was looking for and more. The virtual session and classroom was very informative and helped solidify the knowledge we applied in the field session. Our field instructor John was incredibly experienced and also made the class a lot of fun. He did a great job assessing our groups skill and experience and cultivating the course to suit our interests. I came from the course with a whole new tool kit of backcountry knowledge, from route choice, to snow pit profiles, to weather forecasting. If you're looking for a realistic hands on experience for your AIARE, Blackbird is the way to go.

    Evan W.
    Flag of United States
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Great learning and fun despite poor snow conditions!

    Our guide John did a great job of keeping an experienced group engaged, and despite terrible snow conditions (and general lack of snow, super high winds, etc.) we had a great time. Great practice and review on some topics, and expanded knowledge based on foundations learned in previous courses and/or experiences.

    Big thanks to John!

    Chris C.
    Verified Buyer
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Great mix of theory & practice, highly recommend!

    Both the ARC class and AIARE 2 course, taught by John Littleton, come highly recommended. The courses were a great mix of theory and practice and John's extensive experience as a skier and guide were apparent as he helped model practical applications of rescue techniques, snow science and decision making. I fully endorse both of these courses.

    SImon F.
    Flag of United States
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    AIARE 2 was so much better than expected!

    The aiare 2 was so much better than I would have thought. Our guide Evan was extremely knowledgeable and tailored our training and days to our groups skill and fitness. With the low avy conditions, he challenged us with scenarios to make us put our heads to work. Would highly recommend blackbird.

    Codi C.
    Flag of United States
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