Pemberton, British Colombia

The Coastal Mountains surrounding Pemberton, BC are an amazing playground for backcountry skiing. The mountains receive tons of snow, offer everything from trees to glaciers, and are accessible via roads, huts, lifts, and helicopters. There is a reason why the BC coastal mountains just can't be left out of ski film year after year. Come find out what we already know!

Course description:

The AIARE 2 is a three-day/24-hour course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision making skills in more complicated situations such as being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan where resources are scarce.

The AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

Who should take this course:

The AIARE 2 is a three-day course for those who have taken an AIARE 1 and Avalanche Rescue and have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience. The AIARE 2 provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.

  • Use and interpret weather, snow, and avalanche observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while in the field.

  • Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team that include 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 supporting avalanche information.

Price: $490.00 per person


DATES: March 8-10; March 13-15, 2019


LOCATION: Pemberton, BC



  • Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain.

  • An AIARE 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required.

  • A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is required before taking the AIARE 2 course.

  • AIARE or AAA approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.


Suggested Itinerary: 

Day 0: Fly into Vancouver, take the airport shuttle to Whistler or rent a car to get to Pemberton.  

Day 1: Utilize your Epic Pass to ski the great terrain that Whistler and Black comb offer.

Day 2: Meet for the first day of class in Pemberton. We’ll spend most of this day inside the class room covering a substantial amount of material, before heading up the to the Duffey Lake zone to dig out baseline snow pits.

Day 3: An early A.M. meeting with our group over coffee, then we’ll go and apply the skills the we covered the previous day in the field. Snow pack test after snow pack test will give us a good idea of their application and limitation. Pow laps back to the car and a short P.M. meeting will wrap up the day.

Day 4:  Another early A.M. meeting to discuss the overnight changes. Then we’ll jump on the lifts at Whistler to access the amazing ski touring terrain just outside the resort boundaries. This tour day is when we tie everything together.

Day 5: Cap off your week with a day skiing the amazing terrain at Blackcomb, or getting some more great touring in the Duffey Lake zone.


Getting there:

Pemberton is easily accessed by flying into Vancouver International Airport, or by driving up from Seattle, WA. Pemberton is a short drive from Whistler and about 2:00 hours from Vancouver International. 


Accommodation :

We recommend staying in Pemberton, BC. There are plenty of vacation rentals and hotels available in this small town. It is more affordable than Whistler and will require less driving. You can however stay in Whistler and it will only be a short commute in the mornings of Day 1 and 2.



  • Airfare

  • Accommodation

  • Food

  • Lift tickets at Whistler/Blackcomb for field day (budget $50 for a “backcountry ticket” or use your Epic Pass)

  • Personal backcountry skiing equipment

  • Incidentals

  • Travel insurance


  • 3 days of small classroom instruction

  • IFMGA Licensed Guide as your instructor with local experience and knowledge

  • AIARE Course Materials

  • AIARE Blue Book

  • AIARE Student Fees

  • Land fees associated with guiding on the public land

  • Group gear, permits, insurance, logistical support, etc.

Why pemberton,BC?

The Epic Pass

Whistler Blackcomb is included with the Epic and Epic Local ski passes. This means no lift tickets to buy if you’re one of the many pass holders of this amazing deal! Colorado skiers, come see what skiing the coast is all about and include an Avy Course as apart of your ski vacation!

The lifts

The lifts at Whistler get you out to beautiful ski touring terrain known as the musical bumps. This backcountry playground is perfect for powder days and group learning.

The ease

Vancouver international airport has great service from the majority of the country. From there its just a short 2:00 hour drive to the Pemberton. For the field sessions it is a short 15 minute drive to world famous ski touring terrain known as the Duffey.

The snowpack

A large portion of backcountry skiers these days are getting educated in a single snow pack, and for many it is a continental snowpack. This usually provides great learning regarding persistent weak layers and managing a long term instability, but what it rarely allows is getting good experience dealing with more dynamic avalanche problems such as storm slab, wind slab, and rain on snow events. The coast range in BC is a much for dynamic snow climate, and so we will be managing these hazards in a much more dynamic way. No more “avoid all slopes over 30 degrees”. Instead we can use a much more fine-toothed strategy, manage the terrain with more nuances, and get tons of learning from this!