6-days or 55 hours 1800
This course is the highest level of formal avalanche training in the U.S.. This course is designed for avalanche workers moving into leadership roles within their operations or for experienced workers who desire to continue to develop their risk management leadership skills. The course progresses beyond hazard analysis and moves into avalanche forecasting for different avalanche problems, snow climates and operations. The course will advance the skills for both mitigation-based and avoidance-based avalanche professionals. The tools taught and practiced will apply equally well for ski patrollers, guides, outdoor educators, public avalanche forecasters, and highway program personnel. The course will also address the distinctions between “mitigators” and guides and add tools for both sets to use. Approximately half of the course is classroom based and half is field based. We will travel in the backcountry, in and around avalanche terrain.
This course focuses on the following knowledge and skill sets:
- Improved understanding of snowpack formation & metamorphism
- An overview of current understanding of avalanche release (related back to what practitioners can readily observe in the field)
- Understanding, and accounting for, spatial variability
- Strengths and limitations of stability tests
- Professional standard of recording data and record keeping.
- Creating personal/professional forecasts and nowcasts based on available information
- Making operational decisions based upon avalanche hazard analysis
- Recognizing trends and patterns in stability
- Efficient & accurate route-finding and group management in complex terrain
- Human factors that influence decision-making as professionals and recreationists
- Technical report writing
This is a pass/fail course
- Professional Level 1 avalanche course or equivalent professional experience
- Minimum of one season between the Professional Level 1 & Level 2 used to apply the tools and strategies learned on a pro level 1.
- Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper
- Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG)
- The Avalanche Review (AAA)
Have questions on the pro/rec split? See our pro/rec frequently asked questions page for more details, including a visual of the course progression.