Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course

Level up your backcountry skiing with our immersive 10-day ski trip. This adventure combines a mountaineering skills seminar with our acclaimed AIARE 2 Avalanche Course to help you make huge gains in your movement and decision making in big mountains like the Andes. Join us this October!
Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course

This 10 day adventure in Patagonia is a perfect blend of education and fun that will bring your skills to new heights!  The objective is not just to summit and ski amazing peaks in the Andes mountains, but to learn fundamental ski mountaineering skills and to help you progress in your lifelong avalanche education.  We will teach all the necessary ski and splitboard mountaineering skills and include a full AIARE 2 avalanche course as part of the program.  Bring your fitness and backcountry skiing skills and we’ll help you level up your mountaineering and avalanche skills to tackle big lines and manage snowpack hazards!

Our immersive trip will include backcountry skiing, lift-accessed backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. Along the way we’ll dive into the necessary skills we need to climb and ski big peaks and dig into the AIARE 2 Avalanche Course curriculum. Due to the nature of the venues and the duration of the trip, this will be an incredible experience to accelerate avalanche education and backcountry skills.

Starting in Bariloche, Argentina we’ll warm up our ski legs at Cerro Catedral, South America's largest ski resort.  Aside from great inbounds skiing, we’ll dip into the spectacular backcountry surrounding the resort and explore lesser known backcountry zones in the surrounding area.  We’ll cover the ski mountaineering skills we’ll need for further trips and continue our AIARE 2 avalanche course topics.

With new skills and knowledge, we’ll push across the border into the Lakes district of Chile and tackle some of the classic volcanoes of the region. These iconic mountains offer endless options and have something for all levels of backcountry skiers.

Requisite Experience


  • This trip is designed for skiers who have taken an AIARE level 1, are proficient in backcountry skiing or splitboarding, and are looking to build knowledge and skills to tackle larger objectives and become more self-reliant in the backcountry. 
  • Advanced or expert skiing or riding ability is required.
  • Ski mountaineering skills (ice axe, crampons, ropes) are helpful, but the idea of this program is to teach or improve the necessary skills.


This is a physically demanding trip and a high level of fitness is required.  Please reach out if you are unsure about your level of fitness and we can help determine if the trip will be right for you.  Our partners at also offer training programs to help you build the fitness you need.


The Patagonia Ski Mountaineering and AIARE 2 Course features the Blackbird AIARE 2 Avalanche Course.  This 10-day seminar will fulfil all of the learning outcomes of American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level 2 Avalanche Courses, including:

  • Mountain Snowpack 

  • Mountain Weather

  • The Avalanche Problems

  • Trip Planning

  • Terrain Choice

  • Human Factors and Assembling your Team

  • Trailhead Departure Check

  • Route Finding

  • Track Setting

  • Descent Choices

    Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
    Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
    Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
    Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
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    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Patagonia Ski Mountaineering & AIARE 2 Course
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    Available Dates

    September 28 - October 7, 2022 Deposit


    $4,525 per person


    This program begins with arrival to Bariloche on Oct 1. Bariloche is home to an international airport as well as a bus terminal. There are numerous options on how to arrive, though it is recommended that you fly in. 


    Oct 1. Arrival to Bariloche, move into accommodations. There is possibility for an afternoon trip to Cerro Catedral on this day. After everyone has arrived, we will have a group meeting to cover the plan for the whole trip, the next few days and get everyone familiar with their surroundings.

    Oct 2. We will be heading to Cerro Catedral to do a bit of resort skiing in order to get our ski legs back under us. The evening will hold an AIARE lecture and trip planning exercise for the following day's outing. 

    Oct 3. Return to Cerro Catedral to access backcountry skiing options from the resort. 

    8:30 am Arrive at Cerro Catedral.

    9:00AM Load lifts and begin the tour.  You and your group are calling the shots.  You decide where to go, the route to get there, the observations to make along the way, and key decision points.  Your guide will ask questions and provide insight to help prompt you if your uncertainty is leading to increased risk, but the goal is for you to gather information and make decisions. 

    4:00 pm  We will try to close the program with a margin of daylight remaining when we hit the trailhead.  When we’re safely back at the cars, we’ll review the day and debrief the decisions you made throughout the day.  This is very helpful for building useful experience quickly!

    PM: We will have another short lecture, and question and answer period prior to a trip plan for the following days outing. 

    Oct 4. Backcountry skiing around Lago Nahuel Huapi. This will have a very similar time frame as the previous day did. 8:30 Am arrival at trailhead. Back to the trailhead by 4:00 with a return to the hostel by 5:00 

    5:30pm- Nap

    7:00pm- Prepare for a 8:00pm dinner at La Parrilla de Tony's grill for an authentic Argentine asado. 

    Oct 5. Pack bags and prepare to move to Chile. There will be an optional ski day available in the morning prior to a 1300 departure to Pucon Chile. Arrive in Pucon at approximately 1900. Move into rooms. 

    Oct 6. Snow school and skills day on Volcan Villarica. 

    Oct 7. Ski Villarica. 

    Oct 8/9. Ascend and descend Cerro Lanin or Volcan Osorno (conditions dependent.)

    Oct 10. Return to Bariloche, enjoy a day of sight seeing


    Gear Guide / Packing List

    Backcountry Touring Gear

    ❏ Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”

    ❏ Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1

    ❏ Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,

    ❏ Touring Backpack - A Pack with Avalanche Tools Pocket; BD Cirque 35

    ❏ Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles

    ❏ Ski Helmet - Lightweight S

    Avalanche Gear

    RENT a the full Avalanche Gear Kit from Blackbird

    ❏ Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT

    ❏ Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel

    ❏ Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300

    Head and Neck Layers

    ❏ Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat

    ❏ Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield

    ❏ Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive

    ❏ Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet;

    ❏ Neck Gaiters - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks

    ***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings

    Upper Body and Hand Layers

    ❏ Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody

    ❏ 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & Nano Air

    ❏ Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar

    ❏ Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL

    ❏ Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour

    ❏ Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend

    ❏ Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic;

    Lower Body and Foot Layers

    ❏ Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata

    ❏ Underwear - Wool/Synthetic

    ❏ Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”; Patagonia Capilene Air

    ❏ Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant for Fair Weather; OR Trailbreaker II

    ❏ Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather; Flylow Compound

    Food and Water

    ❏ Nalgene Water Bottle - Hard Sided Bottle; Nalgene 16oz-32oz Wide Mouth Bottle

    ❏ Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L

    ***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.

    ❏ Snacks - Enough Snacks for the Day. There will be no lunch break so snacks must be

    convenient and easy to eat.

    Other Essentials

    ❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)

    ❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)

    ❏ Hand Sanitizer

    ❏ Toilet Paper


    ❏ First Aid/blister Kit

    ❏ Chemical Hand Warmers

    ❏ Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus

    Group Gear

    Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:

    ✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits

    ✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

    ✓ Snow Observation Equipment (Snowsaws, Loops, Crystal Cards, Etc)

    Know Before You Go


    Andes Mountains, South America

    Bariloche, Argentina 

    Pucon, Chile



    Technical Difficulty ⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

    This program involves use of crampons, ice axes and ropes.  All of these skills will be taught during the course.

    Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

    This program requires moderate physical output, with daily tours ranging from 2,000 to 4,000.  You should be able to comfortably handle ascent rates of 1.000'/hour.  

    Trip Length

    10 Days plus Pre-Trip Online Coursework.


    $4,525 including in-country transportation and lodging

    Deposit online secures your booking.  Remainder of trip fee to be paid by check . 

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