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AIARE Level 2 AVALANCHE course

Expand your avy education in the most rugged peaks in colorado!


Proof of LEVEL 1 AVALANCHE COURSE & COMPANION RESCUE are required for all lEVEL 2 avalanche course participants

AIARE Avy 2 course overview

The AIARE Avy 2 Course builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. You will learn how to describe and discuss the weather, snowpack, avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

This course will help you analyze more complex avalanche problems by introducing you to a basic forecasting framework, to be used in conjunction with and in the absence of a local forecast.

When you take your level two with San Juan Expeditions you will get hands-on experience analyzing the avalanche hazard and using your observations to make decisions in the field. We are committed to providing both tools for understanding the avalanche problem and the terrain management skills you can only get from observing an experienced guide.

Our course leaders are both AIARE certified instructors and AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) trained guides. So when you take one of our courses you know you will be under the mentorship of an experienced and qualified guide, not just an instructor. 

This means you will not only learn about avalanche theory but you will apply what you have learned by going skiing/riding under the mentorship of an experienced guide and by making real decisions.


Why take a San Juan Expedition’s AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course?

1. We are based in Silverton and Durango, Colorado – The premier location to learn about avalanche education in the United States with a history of avalanche research.

2. Our AIARE Avalanche Instructors are also trained by the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association). We are not just avalanche instructors but also guides with experience in a variety of terrain and snowpacks all around the world.

3. By taking our AIARE Level 2 course you get exclusive access to exclusive San Juan Expeditions Mentorship Days and Alumni groups. We are committed to helping you continue your education after your AIARE course is finished and want to connect you with other competent partners within our community.

who we are

We stand behind and hand-select everyone of our guides/instructors. All of our guides are educators first and experienced mountain athletes second. This year we have two guides that have been listed for “Piolet D’or” awards and have previously received grants for cutting edge expeditions around the world. Our team is sponsored by “The North Face” and contribute to the new product lines of technical outerwear. We have a reputation for safety in the rugged and dynamic environment of the San Juan Mountains and we take safety very seriously. We are respected in the local Durango/Silverton, community and by our happy loyal clients (see our Google reviews).


intermediate difficulty


Duration Scale 3 days v2



AIARE Avy 2 Course Outcomes

1. Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.

2. Use and interpret weather, snow, and avalanche observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while in the field.

3. Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team that includes facilitating small group discussions, promoting appropriate terrain selection, and utilizing simple risk management strategies.

4. Implement a basic forecasting framework that can be used in conjunction with and in the absence of local supporting avalanche information.



You must have completed an AIARE Avalanche Rescue course & Level 1 course before being eligible to participate in an AIARE Avy 2 course.

Where You Will Stay

Silverton Lodging

Silverton provides an ideal base camp for our AIARE Avy 2 Course. The town is conveniently positioned a short distance from the million-dollar highway on the Southern side of Red Mountain Pass. Nestled in a yawning valley surrounded by a crown of peaks looming above, access to technical terrain is fantastic. The historic town emanates the vibe of a remote outpost but the parallels to a rugged frontiers town stop there. Historic Greene St. hosts a variety of Coffee shops, restaurants, bars and more to indulge in on your off time from the course. With no shortage of places to rest your muscles after a long day in the mountains, our lodging partners The Columbine Road HouseAvon Hotel, and The Wyman Hotel offer San Juan Expeditions guests a 10% discount on their preferred lodging. If you have any additional questions on lodging feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

where we will meet

The first morning of the AIARE Avy 2 Course we will have a meeting at San Juan Expeditions HQ.  We will go over the itinerary for the next three days, you will meet your guides, we will be sure all liability waivers have been completed and then we will begin the classroom portion of the AIARE Avy 2 Course. During this meeting, we will adhere to our COVID-19 policy to ensure all our participants safety is prioritized. After the first day of the course, meeting locations may vary depending on the tour plans for the following days. All this information will be shared with you by your guides and instructors.

SJE HQ Asset

What is Included in the cost?

included in trip cost icon

– Three days with an AMGA certified & trained guide

– Federal land usage surcharge (USFS/BLM)

– Avalanche rescue equipment (beacon, shovel, and probe)

– AIARE Field Notebook

Not Included Icon

– Guide gratuity

– Snow travel equipment (splitboard or AT skis)

– Personal clothing/gear

* If you need to rent equipment locally visit our partners at Cripple Creek Backcountry and pick up your gear at our shop in Silverton.

Course Gallery

(Click for full size image)

past clients feedback

I did a 3-day AIARE with Jack and Coop and it was everything I expected and more. There was a perfect balance of classroom, field time, and fun. We would often learn a skill then get to practice it ourselves. On day 3, we got to build our own plan and actually do it with our guides mentoring us every step of the way. I felt like I was in great hands as they kept safety as #1 and gave us parameters to apply what we learned in the backcountry in a way that will truly stick! My respect for the mountains has only grown, but I feel empowered to be a contributing member to a backcountry ski group now instead of being paralyzed by fear. This is the start of something very beautiful and I look forward to doing many, many more courses and mentorships with SJE!
Lauren Hoogs

Extremely helpful, caring, and fun guides. I would absolutely recommend San Juan Mountain Guides, not only are they exceptionally smart and safe. They also allow for positive learning and fun to happen. Would definitely take more courses with them!
Lilah Gutt


Anyone participating in our programs must fill out a waiver beforehand. If you are under 18, please have your parent/guardian complete.


Please familiarize yourself with our Booking & Cancellation Policies.


Skiers/riders should be in good physical condition, and confident/comfortable on their method of snow travel (backcountry touring skis or splitboard).