Avalanche Education and Mountain Skills with BSBG

There is no skill more important for backcountry skiers and riders than recognizing and assessing avalanche hazard, and using well-gathered information to make safe decisions. Let our team of friendly, experienced avalanche educators help you master the strategies to make the backcountry a rewarding place to play--for an entire lifetime of powder turns. All BSBG courses adhere to current American Avalanche Association (AAA) guidelines.

For those who have already taken a Level 1 course and want to take the next step in their mountain education, Big Sky Backcountry Guides is offering a Recreational Level 2 Avalanche Course. Based in and around Big Sky, we'll be visiting several different backcountry areas, and working on avalanche rescue, interpreting the season snowpack history, utilizing group management strategies, stability tests and analysis, and decision-making skills. This is a four-day, 36-hour course.


(Click to Register)

4 Days

February 6-9th, 2020

(8am-4pm each day)


The Recreational Level 2 course is designed for backcountry skiers and riders with some backcountry experience, who are comfortable with level 1 avalanche skills, and want to learn more. We cover snowpack metamorphism, and how recreationalists can apply this knowledge to the season snowpack history to understand current and potential future avalanche problems. We also focus more deeply on decision-making frameworks and strategies for dealing with the Human Factor, and travel in complex avalanche terrain.

Students must have previously taken a 24-hour Level 1 course, with at least one season between your first and second courses.

NOTE: This course is NOT based at Bell Lake Yurt. It will take place in Big Sky and areas of Yellowstone National Park.

Recreational Level 2 Learning Outcomes

  • Link season weather history and relevant snowpack processes to current snowpack.

  • Use local avalanche advisory as well as other resources available -remote weather stations, reports, and forecasts

  • Create an avalanche hazard assessment without a local advisory.

  • Prioritize relevancy of observations and snowpack tests based on avalanche hazard and problem(s) and apply at a local scale. Key record keeping.

  • Gain deeper understanding of avalanche formation, triggering, and release mechanisms, including links to Avalanche Problems.

  • Recognize and manage risk: human factors, motivations, objectives, and limitations -through planning and communication.

  • Apply tools for planning, decision-making, and travel with consideration of group risk management and awareness of safe margins

  • Practice travel protocols and techniques to mitigate risk exposure in a variety of avalanche terrain situations and challenges

  • Understand the value of debriefing backcountry experiences.

Rescue Fundamentals Learning Outcomes

  • Survival Strategies: priorities & actions to take if involved in an avalanche (as a victim or responder)

  • Transciever techniques: Single burial and multiple burial strategies

  • Strategic shoveling alone and in a team

  • Locating burials without beacons

  • Likely medical issues to anticipate once buried victims are excavated

  • How to request EMS resources and what to expect with larger ICS responses

  • Use and care of airbags & other tools

Here's what people are saying:

“Being in the real backcountry rather than lift-served terrain made it far more real, and I learned a LOT. Highly recommend.

“The Bell Lake Yurt courses are an incredible value. WAY better than the town-based course I took before. A great experience!

“The small group size and super personable instructors really made me comfortable asking questions.

“Very well-organized and professional—and the setting can’t be beat!

Important Payment and Booking Info

  • Courses and camps require full payment at time of booking.

  • Courses are non refundable, unless your position in the class can be filled. An $80 administrative fee will be assessed to all refunds.

  • Payments may be made via MasterCard or Visa--sorry, checks are no longer accepted. Rates do not include 3% CC processing fee or guide gratuity.