Course Description 

Where the PRO 1 focuses on avalanche workers as team members, the PRO 2 is designed for those who are (or will become) operational leaders, such as: the lead in avalanche forecasting operations and guides or ski patrol leaders who operate alone and/or will be responsible for risk management of a group or a team.  

The PRO 2 is an advanced professional avalanche course designed to continue the education of avalanche workers employed in ski areas, transportation, industry, snowmobile guiding, ski and alpine guiding, outdoor education, and public forecasting centers. The course reviews best practices in avalanche risk management including data management and reporting, long term observation and documentation, risk reduction procedures, worker safety, and the development of strategies to limit the effect of bias and uncertainty on individual and team decisions.


HowitzerPRO 2 courses run in close contact with different types of operations, including highway operations, agency forecasters, backcountry ice and ski guiding, and mechanized operations. Participants have the opportunity to gain real time experience watching how professionals manage risk in each context. AIARE PRO 2 courses bring in guest speakers, adding depth and diversity of experience to the course. These include backcountry forecasters, highway forecasters, researchers, and educators preeminent in their respective fields. PRO 2 courses focus on participants’ skills in application through classroom and field exercises.


In order to deliver this high level course, venues are chosen that meet the demands of the PRO 2 curriculum; this requires diversity in access to operations, terrain, snowpack, and logistics. In addition to the venue, course timing is crucial to successful delivery of the course. Courses must be scheduled with appropriate timing for participants to complete pre course writing and assignments. The timing of the course must align with the operations with which they are connected. This allows participants to experience these operations in real time. And, like any operation in the avalanche industry, course scheduling is subject to weather conditions.


Application Process

Applying for the PRO Program shows your commitment to continuing professional development and it requires a multi-step registration process:

  1. Create an account- If you have do not already have an AIARE account, please create one prior to submitting application.
  2. Develop a portfolio- Compile all of the proper materials from the list below.
  3. Submit Payment- Select the course you wish to attend from the list by clicking REGISTER NOW below, then proceed through the Checkout Page. To be enrolled in the course you need to have paid the tuition and your application has been approved by our staff.

Developing a complete portfolio is the most critical step in the registration process. It should be taken seriously and carefully crafted in order to be considered for enrollment. Incomplete portfolios will not be accepted and will delay your registration process.The following list represents all the items you will need to compile and include in this Google Form before enrollment in a course is complete.

  1. A resume showing the required work experience participating in daily operational practices that involve avalanche risk management. You will need to use the PRO 2 Resume to detail your experience.
  2. A letter (or letters) of reference from supervisor(s) who are American Avalanche Association Pro Members. You can use this document as a template for your letter of reference.
  3. Two days of operational hazard forecast forms (please include both AM and PM for each day). This documentation can be photos or screenshots, but all pieces should be consolidated into one document.
  4. Two recent snow profiles in both notebook (table) and drafted form.  This documentation can be photos or screenshots, but all pieces should be consolidated into one document.
  5. Copy of your PRO 1 Course Certificate (or PRO 1 Bridge Certificate).
  6. Your certificate for AIARE Avalanche Rescue course (or A3 recognized Avalanche Rescue Fundamentals course) OR Equivalent.*
  7. Read AIARE’s Cancellation Policy, Essential Eligibility Criteria, and Covid 19 Disclosure.

AIARE recommends at least one full season between PRO 1 and PRO 2 courses to ensure applicants have had the opportunity to apply the skills they learned while being part of an operational team.

* Equivalency must be documented by submitting the AIARE Rescue Assessment Checklist and a letter of reference. The goal of this requirement is for the applicant to have demonstrated that he or she can lead and coordinate a backcountry avalanche rescue that involves managing site safety, managing responders, and conducting a successful search and excavation in a multiple burial scenario. Each item on the checklist should be reviewed and initialed by the applicant’s work supervisor, and the attached letter of reference must include information (including dates and location of practice) attesting that the applicant has demonstrated each skill/step during workplace rescue response practices, and that her/his competency has been evaluated by a supervisor. Completion of the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced  Skills Theory(AvSAR Theory) course and AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA) will be viewed as equivalent.

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Course Dates & Venue Details

The following courses represent our planned offerings for the coming season.  We have intentionally chosen venues in dispersed geographic locations in an effort to serve a wide audience, while also using local instructors promoting more regionalized attendance. You can review our COVID Updates and Course Cancellation pages to answer questions related to AIARE’s response and anticipated actions.  We will maintain communications through those resources as the situation continues to evolve.  

New for this season, we are incorporating a Pre Course Webinar for each PRO1 and PRO2.  This will be scheduled between 1-2 weeks prior to each course.  More details and specific date of each webinar will be posted when registration opens mid-July. Course structures and format are still under consideration, and efforts to reduce close-contact classroom settings are a priority.

We recognize that personal and professional development is expensive and this can be a barrier to many people. As such, you are able to make your tuition payments in two installments.  In order to secure a spot on a course, you need to pay 50% of the tuition at the time of registration and the second payment is due no later than 40 days prior to the course start.  If payment is not received by 40 days to course start, you will be withdrawn from the course and AIARE’s cancellation policy will take effect. If you select this option on the Google Form, an AIARE staff member will email you the first of two payment links. Also consider applying for a scholarship from one of our generous sponsors or donors.

You can reach out directly to the PRO Program Director with further inquiry.

Stanley, ID – Venue Details (Motorized seats available. Ski/Board seats full. Apply for ski/board waitlist with complete portfolio.)
Type: Combo Ski/Snowboard & Motorized
Seats Available: 15
Date: March 1-6, 2021
Cost: $2000
Classroom: Virtual
Field: Galena Pass Backcountry


Cancelation Policy & Travel Insurance

Please visit our AIARE Course Cancellation page for more detailed info.


Pre-Course Activity Overview

In addition to the documents required for enrollment, students must also complete 25-30 hours of Pre-Course assignments before attending the PRO 2 Course. Enrolled students will receive a link to Google Classroom by October 1, 2020 which will include activities, assignments, and information covering the following:

  1. Two snow profiles from the current season that include at least one compression test, ECT and PST
  2. Two completed Hazard and Risk Operational forms from the current winter. The forms should illustrate daily participation, local observations, and the process of avalanche risk management including the following hazard and risk factors: weather, snow, and avalanche observations; and a summary of the avalanche problem and forecast danger. The operational form should also include a risk reduction or mitigation plan.
  3. Pre-course webinar with instructors and students that will cover course logistics and activity review.  Plan for 3-4 hours of dedicated time for this in the weeks leading up to the course.
  4. Review the PRO Course Equipment List and ensure you bring all required equipment to the course.

Pre-Course Written Assignment

Within the Google Classroom, students will receive a document that outlines the written assignment, which is a technical report.  The report requires considerable time to generate and is 15% of the overall course grade.  A final draft is to be submitted a minimum of one week before the first day of the course.


Goals and Objectives

The course goals are to advance knowledge of avalanches and avalanche hazard and risk assessment and to improve individual and team decisions and to reduce accidents in the avalanche workplace. Pre course study and assignments, as well as on-course operational exercises, lead the student through case studies relevant to their job. Successful students will receive the AIARE PRO 2 certificate.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Identify, describe and map avalanche paths in a tenure. Estimate return interval, magnitude and hazard to the element at risk. Discuss mitigation methods that may reduce the risk.
  • Classify deposited snow using ICSG international terms and guidelines.
  • Explain and demonstrate how to prioritize snowpack layer/interfaces using structural indices from profiles, fracture/shear character in snowpack tests, and propagation propensity from large column tests. Explain how to manage the likelihood of error in the observation and testing process.
  • Describe each avalanche problem by the mechanics of how each avalanche type forms and releases and the tests used to identify and assess the problem in the field. Identify risk management strategies associated with each avalanche problem.
  • Analyze, observe, forecast, communicate and document the avalanche hazard and risk factors using ISO 31000 and contemporary terms and methods. Assess relevance of data in terms of strength and weight of that data and extrapolation and interpolation. Identify sources of uncertainty in the daily forecast and describe factors that affect forecaster confidence.
  • Describe and contrast different avalanche risk treatment techniques from different operations.
  • Identify best practices for workers in avalanche terrain including characteristics of high reliability organizations (HRO), guidelines for managing workers working alone or remotely, and effective communication strategies for avalanche mitigation and guiding teams.
  • Demonstrate effective leadership in a team including strategies to minimize personal and organizational biases when making decisions.
  • Write a professional technical report for external review.



Course assessment principles adhere to those described in the American Avalanche Association (A3) Professional Avalanche Training Guidelines and Proficiencies for the PRO 2 Course. A course grade of 70% is required to pass. 

Category 1: Technical Skills and Knowledge

This category will include evaluation via the following written exercises and/or oral presentations:

  1. Storm Profile
  2. Issuing an Avalanche Forecast
  3. Written Exam
  4. Written Technical Report

Category 2: Avalanche Hazard and Risk Assessment

This category will include evaluation via the following written exercises, group exercises, terrain travel exercises, and student contributions to the course:

  1. Avalanche Mapping Project
  2. Operational Exercise
  3. Terrain Use and Decision Making

A3 PRO 2 Guidelines



Please visit AIARE’s Scholarship Page for a detailed list of the exciting scholarship opportunities we have for the coming season.