AIARE 2 Avalanche Education Course

Synnott Mountain Guides offers the AIARE 2 course in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The AIARE 2 course provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision-making skills in more complex situations. Photo: Skinning into Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington, by SMG Guide Nick Aiello-Popeo.

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 organized and led by:

  • Mark Synnott: AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide with over 30 years of experience working and playing in avalanche terrain.
  • Nick Aiello-Popeo: AIARE Level 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 $495 and all avalanche equipment will be provided by SMG (however you are encouraged to bring your own). SMG also has shovel/beacon/probe packages for sale at a discounted price for course participants, a great opportunity to equip yourself and learn with the actual gear you will be using when you are out on your own! Please note that in order to take AIARE 2, an AIARE 1 course (or equivalent Level 1 training) and the new Avalanche Rescue course is required. A winter of practical experience is required before taking the AIARE 2 course.

Please contact SMG if you are interested in a custom AIARE 2 course or would like to be notified about our winter 2018/2019 courses.

Course Information

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.

Student Learning Outcomes
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.

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





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