Women’s Recreational Level 2: Mar 22-24, 2019 at St Pauls Lodge


Course Details

Runs daily from 8:00am-5:00pm. This course is women’s only! 😉

This course follows the American Avalanche Association guidelines for a Recreational Level 2.

Cost: $650

Cost Includes:

  • Chicks IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide and Silverton Avalanche School Instructor
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • AIARE Level 2 Course Manual
  • AIARE Waterproof Field Book
  • AIARE Level 2 certificate upon successful completion

Does Not Include:

  • Transportation to Red Mountain Pass
  • Extra snacks and/or specialty food


Cancellation Policy:   A $35.00 fee is charged for course date transfers. 60% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start.  No refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. Unfortunately we cannot give refunds, rainchecks or cancellations if passes into Silverton are closed.

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Join our all women’s Recreational Level 2 in conjunction with the Silverton Avalanche School to learn the key elements of making sound decisions while traveling in avalanche terrain from some the most experienced women guides and instructors in the industry.

We know that women excel at learning in a supportive, fun atmosphere where they can ask questions, have a voice and engage with other women who are passionate about the outdoors. Fun always plays a huge part in all of our programs and it’s a fact that we learn more when we’re enjoying ourselves.

The Rec Level 2 is now a 3-day program that provides backcountry leaders and aspiring snow professionals the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. The Level 2 builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the Level 1 and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation.

This course is based out of the St Paul Lodge in the beautiful San Juan mountains. Food and accommodation are all inclusive in the fee.  Being immersed in the mountains allows for more field time and an intimate interaction with the snow environment.

Who Should Take this Course:

The Recreational Level 2 is a three-day course for those who have taken an Rec 1 and Avalanche Rescue and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The Rec 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills.  For those who have not taken the Avalanche Rescue Course, the Level 2 certificate will be issued after completion of the 1-day Rescue Course.


Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain via skis or splitboard. A Rec Level 1 Course (required) or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is required before taking the Rec 2 course.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To improve avalanche hazard evaluation and personal forecasting capability
  • Use and analyze snowpack and weather data
  • Teach industry standard methods for weather and snowpack data collection and documentation
  • To practice route finding skills and applying forecasts to terrain
  • To gain more experience dealing with complex companion rescue

Course Curriculum:

  • Tour Planning
  • Snowpack Metamorphism
  • Avalanche Mechanics
  • Observations: standards and recording
  • Forecasts
  • Mountain Weather
  • Route Finding
  • Stability Assessment
  • Decision Making
  • Group Management
  • Full and Test Pit Profiles
  • Rescue Leadership and Multiple Burial Scenarios

Level 2 Field Sessions:

Friday, Saturday and most of the day on Sunday will be spent traveling in the backcountry with your instructor to participate in experiential sessions that examine topics discussed in the classroom. Field sessions include multiple burial companion rescue, route finding and safe travel, backcountry stability assessment, full and test pit profiles, fracture line profiles and a snow crystallography lab. These sessions will also be an opportunity for instructors to evaluate where students need the continued study to best support their aspirations.

Recommend Reading:

Students receive the Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States 2010 edition AAA, USFS. as a part of the course. Students use the Level II Course Manual and a field book for the course.   We also recommend that students read the Avalanche Handbook (3rd edition) prior to the course. A Recreation Level II Course Certificate is provided at the end of the course.

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Day 1: The Changing Mountain Snowpack

  • Silverton, CO – Course Introduction, Chicks Welcome Bags and Equipment Check
  • AIARE 1 Review
  • Mountain Weather
  • The Layered Mountain Snowpack
  • Trip Planning Review
  • Snow Profiles in the Field

Day 2: Making Quality Observations

  • Avalanche Formation and Release
  • Interpreting Weather Data, Snow Surface Conditions, and Snow Profiles
  • Craftsmanship, Relevancy, and Verification of Snow Observations
  • Risk Management in Small Groups
  • Snowpack Test in the Field

Day 3: Applying Observations to Field Decisions

  • Traveling in the Field as a Small Team
  • Field Risk Management and During Action Review
  • Communicating Observations with our group, other travelers, and local experts

This course is for women only. For more information, please visit the Chicks website by clicking here.