The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to Save Lives through Avalanche Awareness. Whether you plan to be in the backcountry this winter skiing, climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, you need this knowledge to play safely in snow covered mountains. The AIARE 2 is a 3 day course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision-making skills in more complex situations. Examples of these situations include being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan in a place where online resources are scarce.

The Synnott Mountain Guides AIARE classes are led by Mark Synnott (AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide) and Nick Aiello-Popeo (AIARE 3 Certified & AIARE Instructor). Mark, Nick, and the other instructors are able to not only teach the AIARE standard curriculum, but also draw on their own personal experiences and passion for avalanche awareness to prepare you for your own adventures.

The AIARE 2 course costs $525 and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver/shovel/probe) will be provided by SMG for use during the course (however, you are encouraged to bring your own). Please note that in order to take AIARE 2, an AIARE 1 course (or equivalent Level 1 training) and the new AIARE Avalanche Rescue course is required. A winter of practical experience is also highly recommended before taking the AIARE 2 course. You may book multiple people and pay in one order, but please complete this booking form for each person so we have full details.

Our winter 2020/2021 AIARE 2 course will be February 13-15, 2021 (Saturday-Monday). Please carefully read the following notes:

  • There are 12 spots available in the course. The number of available spots will be shown when you choose dates and is automatically updated.
  • On field days, each group consisting of 1 instructor and 4-6 students will stay spaced out from the other group and you’ll travel with the same group each day. Within groups, we’ll space out farther than 6′ whenever possible, but face coverings will be required when that isn’t possible.
  • Please read the info further down this page: Full Course Description, Schedule, and FAQs – Winter 2020/2021. Feel free to contact SMG if you have questions!


Spots Available: 1

  • What will be your mode of travel during the course (ski or board w/ skins, snowshoes)?
  • Do you have or plan to purchase avalanche rescue gear (beacon/shovel/probe) or will you need to borrow from SMG?
  • We'll be in touch to work out specific details, but please briefly describe your outdoor background (relative to the course or guiding objective) and goals.
  • Please read and check the box if you agree to the policies.

    Online Bookings
    After receiving your online booking, we will get back to you within 1 business day via phone or email to confirm your booking. In the event that we cannot accommodate your booking, you have the option of having your payment refunded or applied to a future booking.

    SMG accepts credit cards, PayPal, checks, and cash. Payment for AIARE courses is due in full at the time of booking. An exception is made for payment by check or these cases, payment is due in full at or before the course.

    If you have to cancel your booking, please give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel 30+ days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date or you can request a refund. If you cancel from 14-29 days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date. If you cancel 13 days or sooner from the booking, for any reason, the deposit/payment is forfeited.

    Weather & Winter
    Winter courses/trips are rain or shine. If SMG cancels a booking due to weather, we will reschedule you for an alternate date of your choice.

Course Information

Student Learning Outcomes
We will build on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and add to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. In the field and the classroom, we will discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes. Then, we will identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

  • Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.
  • Locate appropriate terrain by interpreting weather, snow, and avalanche observations.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team, including facilitating small group discussion, promoting appropriate terrain selection, and utilizing simple risk management strategies.
  • Implement a basic forecasting framework that can be used in conjunction with — and in the absences of — local avalanche information.

Who Should Take this Course
If you’ve already taken the AIARE 1 and the new Avalanche Rescue course, and you have spent at least one winter season in the mountains, the AIARE 2 is for you. This course provides advanced recreationists and backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills.

Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AIARE 1 Course or equivalent Level 1 training is required, as well as the new Avalanche Rescue course. A winter of practical experience is required before taking the AIARE 2 course.

Required equipment for all avalanche courses:
  • Ski socks
  • Long underwear top and bottom
  • Fleece or softshell pants
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Hard shell (Gore-Tex or other waterproof/breathable) pants/bibs and jacket
  • Puffy coat (synthetic or down)
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava/neck warmer
  • 1 pr. approach/lightweight gloves
  • 1 pr. warm waterproof gloves or mitts
  • Goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Day pack (approx. 3000 cu. in)
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • 2 liters of water or thermos
  • Lunch and snacks for each day
  • Lip balm
  • Sun screen
  • Alpine touring or Telemark skis or Splitboard with skins, or Snowboard and snowshoes, or just snowshoes.
  • Ski Boots
  • Ski poles
  • Helmet
Optional equipment:
  • Repair kit
  • camera
  • altimeter watch
  • first aid kit
  • Mt. Washington map
  • compass

We will supply you with beacon, probe and shovel, but if you have your own, please let us know. You will also be receiving from us an AIARE Field Book and the AIARE 2 Student Manual.

Stay tuned for the schedule for the winter 2020/2021 AIARE 2 course.

Will masks be required?

Face coverings such as a cloth mask, buff, or bandanna will be required equipment. Any time you’re within 6 feet of another person, you’ll need to wear your mask. While hiking and skiing, we’ll space out farther than 6 feet whenever possible. A mask isn’t just for your own protection — it shows that you respect the health of your fellow students and instructors.

How large will groups be?

Our field groups typically consist of seven people, including the instructor. Private courses are available if you inquire very early in the season, and pricing will vary.

Won’t it be cold meeting outside to start the field days?

Meeting outside will be a necessary evil if you wish to take an AIARE course this season. We’ll all be meeting dressed for the outdoors, and you can wait in your car until we’re ready to hit the trail.

Will Tuckerman Ravine be open?

This is an impossible question to answer. But contrary to popular belief, wild avalanche terrain exists far beyond Tuckerman Ravine and we have many location options in the White Mountains for AIARE 2 course field days.

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

Conditions permitting, this course will take place in a variety of terrain on Mount Washington. We may also utilize other steep/open terrain in the White Mountains such as Crawford Notch.


Beginner - Advanced


3 Days





Have a question about AIARE 2?