Avalanche Operations Level 1 to 3

Level 2

View larger imageFracture profile on a Level II course | Photo: Greg Johnson

“I had a 110% positive, exceptional experience that was quite higher than my expectations with my L2!  I'm just thrilled with what I got out of it and impressed with all that was asked of us as participants before and during the program." Angela Hawse, M.A. IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide

The CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 Program is an advanced program for people who work full time with avalanche safety and control operations.

Participants must have at least 100 days of operational field experience making and collecting weather, snowpack, and avalanche activity observations before applying. This generally requires at least two years of active operational field work and experience under the mentorship of CAA Professional Members.

The Level 2 Program is divided into three modules:

  • Module 1 focuses on decision making, advanced snow science concepts, and operational risk management principles in a four-day, theory based classroom environment.
  • Modules 2 and 3 are field-based programs that involve the application of Module 1 principles into real life operational decision making and risk management.
  • Module 2 is a four-day field course in an evaluation free setting.
  • Module 3 is a seven-day course where students’ skills and competency in both technical knowledge and practical application of Level 2 concepts is evaluated. Successful completion of Module 3 results in a Level 2 certification by the CAA.

Refer to the Sample Schedules for each module under “Related Links” in the right sidebar for more details.

Please note: Students are responsible for their own transportation on the course.

Program Goals

 At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Collect and evaluate weather data;
  • Collect and evaluate detailed snowpack data;
  • Collect and evaluate avalanche size & activity data;
  • Forecast snow stability trends and avalanche hazard levels;
  • Evaluate terrain;
  • Evaluate current avalanche hazard;
  • Travel safely in avalanche terrain;
  • Manage personal performance;
  • Manage personal wellness;
  • Apply effective communication skills;
  • Demonstrate effective participation in a team;
  • Develop concepts of risk management for the workplace;
  • Make appropriate operational decisions to optimize risk in the workplace;
  • Model  professionalism;
  • Describe the scope of practice for L2 avalanche operations.

Prerequisites

Applicants must have:

  • CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 certification or similar training and experience;1
  • CAA Introduction to Weather or equivalent training and experience;1,2
  • CAA Avalanche Search & Rescue Response or equivalent training and experience;1,2
  • Thorough working knowledge of the CAA Observation Guidelines & Recording Standards (OGRS 2007);
  • More than 100 days of operational field experience in weather, snowpack & avalanche occurrence observations & analysis;
  • Advanced backcountry skiing, boarding, or snowmobiling skills and good fitness;
  • Participation on at least two operational avalanche rescue scenarios;
  • A minimum of two letters of reference from CAA Professional Members. Refer to the Level 2 Reference Form under “Related Links”;
  • Completed all of the steps outlined in the Level 2 Application Information located under “Related Links”. 

1 For those with similar training and experience, you must apply for exemption using the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) form; this form may be submitted during the application process
2 These courses must be completed prior to the Level 2 Module 2. For those who wish to apply to the Avalanche Operations Level 2 program but have yet to take either of these prerequisites, they must submit a Letter of Intent indicating that they will provide proof of completion prior to the start of the Module 2.

Application/Registration Process

Students are required to apply for this program and are accepted based on meeting the outlined prerequisites. Applications may be sent in at any time to the CAA office by email (info@avalanche.ca), or fax 1-866-366-2094. Refer to the Level 2 - Application Information under "Related Links" for further details.

Once accepted, a student will be able to register online. Note that full payment will be taken at time of registration. Online registration opens in the first weeks of June. The Level 2 schedule, course dates, and locations are posted mid-May on the right of this page. A "Registration Opens" date is listed below each course at the time of schedule posting.

Note: ACMG Guides are not automatically exempt from the Module 2, they must apply for Prior Learning Assessment for equivalency to the Module 2.

Tuition

  • Module 1 - $1,030
  • Module 2 - $910
  • Module 3 - $1,590

An additional $100 registration fee is applied to International Students.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Module 1, 2, & 3 courses are open to past Level 2 graduates as CPD. Typically 2% of Module 1 students are CPD students, enabling a rich and collaborative learning environment for all involved. Numerous organizations have sent significant numbers of senior avalanche personnel to participate in these courses annually.

Course Evaluation

Participants’ learning during the Level 2 program will be formally evaluated on the Module 3 course. This formal evaluation is a combination of written tests and exercises, field book observations, practical examinations, field discussions, and A.M. and P.M. Operational Hazard Analysis. Students must pass the following mandatory elements: Data Collection/Record Keeping, Snow Profile, and Terrain/Hazard Analysis with an overall mark of 71% or greater. Retests are allowed in specific situations only.

Informal personalized feedback will be provided throughout the Module 1 and 2 courses. Detailed evaluation criteria will be provided as part of course materials provided to each student upon registration. A passing grade results in the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 certificate of completion being granted to the student.

Course Equipment & Materials

Upon registration, Module 1 students will be provided with a program package that will include:

  • Logistical & venue information;
  • Level 2 Student Manual & readings;
  • Recommended technical references.

Students are required to bring a laptop computer to the course. As well, bring a copy of CAA Observation Guidelines and Recording Standards (2007). If you do not have this OGRS a copy will be available on course for you.

International Courses

Industry Training Program curriculum is delivered every year in countries such as Japan and New Zealand. If you are interested in finding out more about our international outreach projects, please go to the websites listed below or contact the CAA directly.

related links

course dates

If courses are full, contact the CAA to be put on a waiting list (info@avalanche.ca) and a general e-mail will be sent out to those on the waitlist when a spot becomes open.